Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Sweet Story

Years ago, my future-wife-to-be and I would be walking through the food court of the mall, where we would often find ourselves drawn to the smell of the freshly baked cinnamon rolls at Cinnabon®. Soon, we would mysteriously find ourselves waiting in line to purchase a $6 dollar cinnamon roll that was bigger than 'a bean bag chair'*. We'd soon be found kindling our new romance, sharing the delights of the Cinnabon® Classic.

mmmmm... instant gratification.
Cinnabon®. How sweet is that? (literally)

after consuming said sticky bun, we'd no doubt feel instant shame - in need of a moist towelette to clean off the stickiness on our hands and face.

the funny thing is, most people waiting in line for a Cinnabon probably pray that there is no line. they don't want to be seen purchasing 12 thousand calories of sticky mess. Jim Gaffigan* talks about this. [view clip here] Perhaps they could have some sort of dark curtain to hide those who seek such an indulgence.

the point is, Cinnabon's are sticky... and it's certainly hard to get rid of it's aura. hands and mouth are all syrupy. the smell gets onto your skin and clothes. and then there's your newly expanded waste line. It covers you.

Kind of like sin. Some often refer to desserts and comfort foods as 'sinfully delicious'. i could go down the cheesy route and rechristen Cinnabon as 'Sin-abon' but i fear that might show up on some church sign. i can see it now: 'Nothing is more sticky than a Sin-abon' [see my church sign creation here].

You get my point, though.

Sin is sticky... messy... hard to clean off... at least by our own measures it is. We can't hide our sin. We try... really hard - but sooner or later our sins find us [Numbers 32:23], bind us and blind us. Mankind has been hiding in shame of their sins since the beginning. Adam and Eve hid after they disobeyed. Remember?

We seemed to have learned this at an early age. How many of us had secret hiding spots - under a bed; in the basement; in a closet or whatever - that we would hide in when we knew we were in trouble with mom or dad? We hide. That's what we do. We try our best to hide the stickyness... the shame... but no matter, the residue of sin is still upon us.

Remember Fun Dip? As a kid we'd all devour those packets of colored, flavored sugar. The dipping stick would be long gone before the good stuff ran out... so it'd wind up all over us - on our fingers, faces... all over. The residue of Fun Dip covered us.

But that was not what we were designed to be. Covered with sticky shame? Not God's plan.

Ephesians 1 states 'the plan'... that we might be one with the Father through Jesus Christ.
4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Chosen and designed to be blameless.
So we have been chosen - but it is ultimately our choice to accept this chosen-ness - and to then reciprocate the message of the Cross. What is the message of the Cross? Read on.

6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.

Through Christ - we receive grace... we don't get what we deserve. We deserve death. Sin = death. Work hard at sinning and your payment is death. [Romans 6:23] We get freedom from sin. (but we have to repent... a verb... to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin).

What are things we redeem? Coupons. Gift cards. etc.

I got an iTunes gift card for christmas. $25 worth. I logged on to the website - entered the code on the back of the card and REDEEMED my reward. Bought and paid for by someone else - i reaped the benefit. it was a wonderful gift (that's why they call it a gift card, duh!)

Christ loves us - no matter what we do. As the late Rich Mullins once wrote "There is nothing you can do to make God love you more and there is nothing you can do to make Him love you less." Love is freely given to us.

Because of that unconditional love, when we repent, our sins are traded in; cashed in - to the detriment of Jesus - for our benefit. With His sacrificial gift we redeem the gift of life... new life. Full life. [John 10:10] That is the plan! No more stickiness. No more mess. No more sin-residue. Freedom. Cleanliness. Washed whiter than snow. [Psalm 51:7]

and now, instead of sticky, smelly, sin and death - your aura is soft and smooth love and life. and there's certainly no shame in that.

Redemption. How sweet is that?

parts of this post were preached at Breakfast Club - Feb 7, 2010 titled "Sticky". Breakfast Club is a youth worship service.

used with Nooma 10: Lump

sponsored by: Little Chocolate Donuts

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