Sermons

Summary: Forgiveness is one of the most precious of all blessings. Yet, as blessed as it is to be lifted, it is more blessed never to have fallen.

Doing your best could be the worst thing you could do. That

sounds like a contradiction, but it can be explained so that it makes

sense as a paradox. A paradox is a statement, which at first sight

seems absurd, and contrary to common sense, but which can be

explained so as to be well grounded and true in fact. It is not hard to

figure out the paradox in the statement that the new cars are wider,

longer, lower, and higher. That they are lower in relation to the

ground, and higher in relation to your bank account is easy to see.

Many paradoxes are not so obvious. Some of the beatitudes of Jesus,

for example are paradoxes. Blessed are the poor in spirit; blessed

are those who mourn, and blessed are those who are persecuted for

righteousness sake. These need some deeper thinking before the

clouds of obscurity will clear away, and let the light of truth shine

through.

So it is with the statement, doing your best can be the worst thing

you can do. It is contrary to a normal pattern of thinking, but all it

takes is one illustration to turn it into a paradoxical statement of

truth. A minister of a large church had his assistant preach the

sermon on Sunday morning. He wanted to slip away to play golf. He

drove the ball with terrific accuracy, and everything he did seem to

go perfect, and he finished the 18 holes with a remarkable 68. It was

the first time he ever broke 100. He was over joyed and elated until

it struck him, he would never be able to tell anyone about it because

of the circumstances. Had he played an average game, there would

be nothing to tell, but he had gone and done his very best, and now

he couldn't share his excitement. Doing his best under those

circumstances proved to be the worst thing he could do. His great

pleasure paradoxically became his punishment.

Doing your best at any act of evil is always the worst thing you

can do. The thing to notice about the nature of paradox is that it

keeps you aware of the complexity of reality. It keeps you aware of

the danger of oversimplification. We tend to take a legitimate aspect

of reality and make it the whole. Paradox forces us to keep an open

mind, and seek to reconcile contradictory aspects of life. The

Christian who cannot accept paradox as part of reality will often be

distressed, because life refuses to conform to the logic of what he feels

ought to be. Everything can make sense, however, to one who is

willing to see the paradoxical nature of reality.

A blessed curse sounds like nonsense, but a little thought can

make it a precious truth. The Scripture says, "Cursed is every man

who is hung upon a tree." Jesus was hung upon a tree, and crucified

for our sin. His curse became the means by which all of our sins are

forgiven. Who can think of a curse that ever led to greater blessings?

It was indeed a blessed curse, and no longer a statement of nonsense.

I emphasize the reality of paradox because Paul is so paradoxical in

this passage of Gal. 6. The paradox we want to consider concerns a

blessing we are to avoid. It sounds unreasonable to even suggest that

we should try and avoid one of God's blessings, but that is exactly

what God's expects us to do, and exactly what we want to do when

we understand the meaning of the paradox.

No one will doubt that guilt is one of the heaviest burdens a man

can bear, and no one will doubt that forgiveness is one of the most

precious of all blessings. Yet, as blessed as it is to be lifted, it is more

blessed never to have fallen. The blessing we are to avoid, therefore,

is the blessing of being the one who is restored through forgiveness.

While helping the fallen experience this blessing, we are to be careful

to avoid it ourselves. It is a blessing that can only come through first

disobeying God. To be eligible for forgiveness we must first sin, and,

therefore, this is a blessing we are to avoid.

A Sunday School teacher asked her class what is the first thing we

must do to obtain forgiveness of sin? A little boy spoke up and said,

"Sin!" It was not the expected answer, but a correct one, and

because they only way to obtain this goal is by the route of evil, it is a

way we are not to travel. It is a blessing we are never to chose, but

one we are to receive only because of necessity due to the fact that we

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