Sin No More

4 Jul 2018

Now that I've gotten home and gotten a good night's sleep in my own bed, now seemed like a good time to write up about some of the things I learned over the course of the weekend. 

I go to Summer Madness every year with certain expectations. These expectations do tend to vary each year. For example every year we expect the weather to be crap and ordinarily, it is but this year was an exception and we had sun the whole time which honestly was the absolute dream. When I was younger everyone always told me that Summer Madness would be the best week of my summer and sure enough the first year I went I grew so much in my faith and really gained a lot of confidence in Christ and obviously, it made such a big impact on me that I keep going back year after year. However, as I've gotten older these expectations have shifted ever so slightly in a more negative direction. I go to Summer Madness knowing that it's a youth festival, the talks are geared towards young people and I'm not a young person anymore. What could I possibly get out of this and just like with the weather, my expectations were succeeded.

This year the theme of the week was 'Truth to Dare' exploring the importance of truth in the Christian faith as we unpacked stories from the bible in how different characters encountered truth and how it transformed them. This included one of my favourite stories from the Bible, the story of the woman caught in adultery from John 8:1-11. 

It's a funny phrase 'Sin no More'. It's so often depicted as angry, the kind of thing you hear those intense street preachers yelling down their megaphones as they try to terrorise passersby to 'turn from their wicked ways before they burn in hell' or something to that effect. But how far is that from the real meaning of these words. In John 8:11 after the woman caught in adultery has all of her accusers walk away from her unable to condemn her Jesus says the words "Neither do I condemn you, now sin no more". Those words, Sin no more. Was Jesus angry? No, He was probably almost definitely disappointed but Jesus knows that we as humans are incapable of living a life free of sin. Jesus faced all the same temptations as we did because He was fully human but the seemingly contradictory fact that He was also fully God meant that he did not give into that temptation and He lived His life without sin. 

We see sin as the ultimate act of freedom, that by living in the world and all of the temptations that we face that it'll give us more freedom and more satisfaction when in reality it's really doing the opposite, it's constricting us and acting as a stumbling block in us developing our relationship with Jesus. So yes a life without sin would be impossible for us to live but Jesus' call for us to Sin no more was a compassionate cry for help. Jesus see's the sins that tarnish us and it breaks His heart. God loves us just the way we are and He accepts us just the way we are but if He didn't teach us to grow and change the way we live He would have failed as a father. Krish Kandiah put it that God doesn't try and change us because He doesn't love us the way we are but because He loves us too much to leave us that way"

The part that really hit home to me the most, however, was on the final morning when everyone was tired and ready to go home, I didn't even have my notebook out to take notes it was at that stage. But the words resonated load and clear all the same, "Secondhand Christianity", or, living vicariously through other peoples faith encounters without ever really having your own faith encounters. I love hearing how other people are encountering God and what He's doing in their lives, it excites me so much to see young people encountering Jesus and how bright their futures are going to be without really thinking about myself and how God is going to work in me to bring transformation, clarity, and purpose. Just because God hasn't done something in your life yet doesn't mean that He's incapable of doing it. Other people's experiences with Jesus don't define your walk, only your experiences can do that and the only way for that to develop is just to continuously seek His face and put Him first in everything that you do. 

So once again Summer Madness you've snuck up on me with truths that I can take home and try my very hardest to live out but the most important truth of all is that we also have grace and that God's grace is so sufficient that it covers everything. He's removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. That's an immeasurable distance, if you walk north and keep walking north, eventually you're going to end up walking south, but if you keep on walking east you'll never stop walking east, and that is how far our transgressions have been removed from us, our transgressors, or the things leading us to sin cannot condemn us because Jesus hasn't condemned us, instead He has reached out His hand and invited us in truth and grace to sin no more. 

So I'm going to try. 

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