The Baptist Beacon
MISSING THE MARK
By Elder Lynn Stapleton
Everyone makes mistakes! In fact, we seldom get through a day without making them. By definition a mistake is a miscalculation or an error in judgement. If we are fortunate our mistakes will only be slight and the consequences minimal; however, mistakes can be serious and their consequences very grave.
Sin is generally understood to be a mistake, an error in judgement. You might consider yourself to be a little sinner. The average person is not a professional thief, hardened criminal, nor mass murderer. Most people are basically honest, law abiding citizens who readily admit to some character defects or short-comings. They might for example, bend the truth occasionally, fudge on their taxes, lust or covet a little, and probably do not attend church as they should. From this perspective sin does not appear to be serious.
The Bible, however, presents a different picture of sin. Sin is defined in I John 3:4 as "the transgression of the law." Sin is not just a mere mistake or miscalculation, but it is missing the mark, God's mark! Romans 3:23 says: "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Because all have sinned and missed God's intended mark, Romans 6:23 reveals all will receive the wages of sin, which is death.
The penalty of death was imposed because sin was a premeditated act of disobedience. God created man in the beginning so that he and man could enjoy life and fellowship together forever. Sin changed that. Man missed the mark! Anything less than eternal life is death, and death is missing the mark.
VICTORY IN JESUS
Since all have sinned and missed the mark we are sinners under the penalty of death with no power of our own to undo what has been done, nor to save ourselves from sin's penalty. God's love for man was so great that he devised a plan whereby man could be saved from his sins. That plan was and still is accomplished through the sacrifice of God's Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
Every human being, because of sin has missed the mark and cannot therefore, save himself nor anyone else from sin. God's Son became a man, lived out the human experience free from sin and willingly became our substitute to satisfy God's penalty for sin. Jesus did not miss the mark, but successfully completed God' will. Jesus was crucified on the cross as a sinner and Isaiah 53:11 tells us in prophecy that God was satisfied with Christ's sacrifice.
The word of God is plain about sin and its consequence, and gives one remedy for forgiveness. Acts 16:30 raises a serious question: "What must I do to be saved?" The answer is given in the next verse, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."
Sin is more than a slight miscalculation. Sin is the transgression of God's divine law and death is the certain outcome. Through faith in Jesus Christ, however, we are freely justified and forgiven of our sins. Through the righteousness of Jesus Christ we can be restored to fellowship with God. Through Christ's victory over sin and death all who believe in Him can hit the mark and live with God forever.