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Jesus Is Lord: Sin & Its Consequences {Week Two}

SIN&ITSCONSEQUENCESchrist-king3Welcome to the Jesus Is Lord series! This is the second installment of the Jesus Is Lord course offered for adults at St. William Catholic Church in Round Rock, Texas.

If this is your first time visiting this series, I encourage you to take a few moments and read through the series introduction that will give a clear picture of the purpose and content of the Jesus Is Lord course. The introduction post not only outlines the course, but goes over the motivation to share in this class on the internet. 

Last week – the first class – we talked about God’s Love. Today’s class is about Sin & Its ConsequencesIf you would prefer to watch this class, please scroll to the bottom. This class is NOW currently offered via online video. Check back next week for the third installment which will cover Salvation: God’s Solution for Sin

TEACHING & SCRIPTURE

Father Uche Andeh spoke to the group about Sin & Its Consequences. The following is a summary of his talk:

Knowing that God loves us so much, does that love of God – and where we are – level out all the time? If God loves us so much, why are we so messed up?

Some might ask what do you mean we’re messed up? But, if you pay attention to the news {and even if you’ve given up on the news}, look at what is going on in Syria. Someone decides that it’s ok to use chemical weapons on his own people that he’s supposed to protect so that he can stay in power. And other people in the world see this and want to take him out and replace him with someone else. Another recent example is the shooter who took a gun and killed 13 people in the Navy yard.

How is that not messed up?

Look at your own family. How many people in your own family are not speaking to each other? How many people are you not talking to right now? So, why does God loves us if we are so messed up?

The Church has a name for this reality – SIN.

CCC 386: Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile. To try to understand what sin is, one must first recognize the profound relation of man to God, for only in this relationship is the evil of sin unmasked in its true identity as humanity’s rejection of God and opposition to him, even as it continues to weigh heavy on human life and history.

When asked recently in an interview, who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?, Pope Francis answered after a pregnant pause,

“I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner….Yes, but the best summary, the one that comes more from the inside and I feel most true is this: I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.”

People try to hide the reality of sin. We blame everything but sin – or, what the problem is. We need to be challenged to confront our sin. When was the last time you heard someone preach to you and tell you about your sins – and tell you to repent from your sins? 

In order to understand the impact of sin, we need to go to the beginning.

Genesis uses figurative language to demonstrate exactly how sin entered the world. The details of the fall {in the garden, involving a serpent or a tree with fruit} are not the purpose of the story.

byzantine_adamThe Fall: Genesis 3:1-5

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the Lord God had made. The serpent asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’?” The woman answered the snake: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, or else you will die.'” But the snake said to the woman: “You certainly will not die! God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know – good and evil.” 

CCC 397: Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

Eve tells the serpent exactly what God had told them of the tree, but the devil sows the seed of doubt in humanity by saying what God told them He didn’t mean it that way. Adam was there silent and listening, but did nothing to protect Eve from harm.

That is how the trust in God died.

Disobedience follows distrust 

all my sins now become distrust in God and disobedience toward Him.

Every sin can be reduced to distrust – lack of trust in Him and disobedience to His commands.

Every sin is an abuse of freedom.

We start by revisiting what we talked about last week – how much God loves us. He gave us something that only divine beings have – freedom. Freedom to choose whatever we want to do.

It is impossible to sin against God without this gift of freedom.

Anytime we sin, each time we sin, it’s like we are spitting in God’s face – I am taking my gift of freedom and here is what I choose to do with it.

Sin is an act of ingratitude against God.

Verse 6 – The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 

You can lie to everyone, but you can’t lie to yourself.

Sin is very attractive. It is the stuff that sends us to hell and the devil packages it in such a way, in such a tantalizing way, that makes it difficult to turn away from. Sin is always an empty promise.

Don’t be naïve about the empty promises.

CCC 398: In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully “divinized” by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to “be like God,” but “without God, before God, and not in accordance with God.”

The devil comes back and tempts Adam and Eve by saying they can become like God, but without God.

Whenever we sin, we are going against ourselves, against our own good. An example of this might be similar to parents saying “don’t do this” to their children. The children can sometimes think you’re just being mean, but you’re doing it for their own good.

You can’t cook or use matches, don’t play with the outlets, etc.

You’re not mature enough to handle this yet, parents reason, for the safety of their children.

At the heart of sin, we have rejected that we are creatures. We are rejecting limits by sinning, and rejecting that the rules are for our own good.

Verse 7-10 Consequences of the Fall: Separation from God

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. When they heard the sound of the LORD God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, – the man and the woman hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. The LORD God called to the man and asked him: Where are you? He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

Verse 17-18 – Separation from Creation

“To the man he said: Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, You shall not eat from it, Cursed is this ground because of you! In toil you shall eat its yield all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles it shall bear for you, and you shall eat the grass of the field.”

Verse 19 – …and Death

By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

CCC 399: In Summary…

Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They became afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image – that of a God jealous of his prerogatives. {Separation from God}

When God asks “where are you?” it’s a loaded question. Human beings are always looking for the divine – god or gods. It is only in Christianity that God looks for human beings. We don’t look for him. The very first question in the bible is God looking for us, out of love and compassion. Adam and Eve, however, hear “where are you?” because they think they will be punished. Their sin has distorted their perception of who God is.

CCC 400: 

{Separation of self}

The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered;

{Separation from the other}

The union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination – the battle of the sexes. 

{separation from creation}

Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subject “to its bondage to decay.” As an act of mercy, God casts them from the garden and removes the tree of life – the world of decay would not be a place to live forever. He stationed the cherubim and fiery revolving sword to guard the way to the tree of life.

{Death: the final enemy}

Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will “return to ground,” for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history

CONSEQUENCES OF SIN

The consequence of sin is a law of nature – it exists whether we like it or not.

Example:

  • Let’s say you like barbecue {or fill in with your favorite tasty treat}. You can’t eat it indefinitely. There is a limit, even if you love it. What happens if you continue to eat it? You get sick – laws of nature are at play.
  • Driving on Interstate 35 – zooming around without care for the laws. Consequences can range from a simple ticket, to hurting or killing yourself or others.

When we sin, those laws of nature come into effect. Whenever you commit a sin that you know is wrong, the pope doesn’t need to write you a letter, your pastor doesn’t need to give you a call. You know in your heart of hearts that you sinned because you aren’t at peace. You know things are wrong. The weight of sin is heavy.

Recall how you feel after a good confession.

Consequences do not just apply in the physical of world,

but in the realm of spirituality as well.

Relational damage – sin is always an offense that touches others. It alters the world and damages. The network of human nature is broken from the beginning. We enter a world that is already a relationally damaged through the effect of original sin.

When we say I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters…we are asking for forgiveness because we recognize that we need forgiveness not only from God, but from our fellow man as well. We recognize that our sin doesn’t just hurt ourselves, our relationship with God, but with each other.

As long as people continue to say we don’t need you, God, we will continue to suffer the consequences of sin.

God made this beautiful world, put us in it, and told us if we follow these laws, we will be happy. But because we have this teenage rebellion in us, we will always fight against the will of God.

TESTIMONY

Noe jokes that both Father Dean and Father Uche picked the worst sinner on staff to talk about how sin affected his life. 😉

The following links are audio of Noe’s testimony. His testimony starts at the 27:00 mark of the first track and goes through the second track.

 

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION

  • Start with a prayer
  • Review and discuss questions during small group time:
    1. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE DAY OF THEHOMEWORK? {read and share why}
    2. ANY COMMENTS ON PRAYING FOR YOUR PARTNER?
    3. WHAT STRUCK YOU ABOUT THE PRESENTATION?
  • HOMEWORK BELOW:
    • Day 1: The “LIAR” is calling God a liar. Like Eve some people believe him. “But the serpent said to the woman: ‘You certainly will not die!'” {Genesis 3:4}
    • Day 2: The “LIAR” continues and implies that God is not only a liar but He is actually trying to deprive us of something good. Like Eve some people believe him. “No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.” {Genesis 3:5}
    • Day 3: Listening to the “LIAR” can confuse us. What is prohibited by God starts to look good. “The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.” {Genesis 3:6}
    • Day 4: Another danger of sinning is that we can become enslaved by sin. “They promise them freedom while they themselves are slaves of destructive habits – for we are slaves of anything that has conquered us.” {2Peter 2:19}
    • Day 5: Sin separates us from God. When we think that God is far away, it might be time to examine our conscience. “…everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence.” {Romans 3:23}
    • Day 6: When we sin we are working and we will get our salary. “For sin pays its wage – death;…” {Romans 6:23}
    • Day 7: It is good to understand the problem of sin, but it is better to know God’s solution for sin. “But by the free gift of God’s grace all are put right with Him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free. God offered Him, so that by His blood he should become the means by which people’s sins are forgiven through their faith in Him…” {Romans 3:24-26}
  • STUDY: This week we will read who Jesus is and How He saves us. Read John 1:1-14 and Colossians 1.

SUMMARY

Homework is to be done daily – reflect on Scripture and Sin & Its Consequences through the week. If you are in a group, pair up two or three and commit to pray daily for your prayer partner. Small groups come together for a few minutes of question and answer in the large group. If you have any questions, please leave a comment in the combox below so that we can help in any way possible.

CONCLUSION

Prayer of Abandonment

Father,
I abandon myself into Your hands;
do with me what You will.
Whatever You may do, I thank You:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only Your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into Your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to You with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into Your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for You are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld

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About Martina Kreitzer

Martina is a cradle Catholic, wife to Neil, and mother to six kiddos here {and three in heaven}– 4/96-6/12. She decided to homeschool the kiddos in 2010 after many years in public schools. She is the creator of Catholic Sistas which focuses on a feminine perspective of the Catholic Faith. The website was the result of an existing camaraderie by the contributors in a Catholic women’s group she created. She is also a Seal of Approval evaluator for the Catholic Writers Guild. Lest you think she spends all her time online, Martina has enjoyed getting out into the community by serving on the Pastoral Council from 2010-2013. She is constantly on the lookout to make her parish as welcoming as the small town she grew up in East Texas. This task is not easy given that St. William is the largest parish in the Austin diocese, serving well over twenty thousand parishioners. She loves Jesus, coffee, bacon, chocolate, photography, more bacon, evangelizing, and the company of those unafraid to use their sense of humor.

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