A recent editorial in the New York Times commented how our culture has lost it's common "language" when it comes to religious matters. Words that most people understood in previous generations like salvation and grace have lost their meaning. "Some words, like 'sin,'" the author Jonathan Merritt points out, "now felt so negative that they lodged in my throat."
Sin and punishment are words that many in both culture and in church would like to have eliminated. I even find myself speaking of sin in general terms as if we know and agree to what it is. This week, we approach a text that seems almost out of place in the euphoria of the early church. And in it, we are reminded at just how serious sin is and how seriously God takes it.