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The Flash of Sin

“Primarily, God is not bound to punish sin; he is bound to destroy sin. The only vengeance worth having on sin is to make the sinner himself its executioner.”

— George MacDonald


Flash paper is a wonderful invention. It allows you to take a seemingly ordinary piece of paper and light it on fire, watching in awe as it burns in seconds and leaves no damage behind. Burnt individually, the paper seems just a little neat; burnt in large quantities, it can be very powerful. Although I have seen flash paper many times in my life, only one time truly stand out above any others. I worked a variety of mid-winter youth camps while I was in high school. One year, we decided to try and create a powerful illusion. During our service, we were to take several pieces of paper, unknown to all but the adults and youth volunteers as flash paper, and write on each one individual sins we needed God’s help removing from our lives. After we finished the writing, we were to attach them to the cross at the front. Over five hundred small squares of paper covered the cross. As the last hymn came to a close, the paper was lit on fire. It burned for all of three seconds leaving only the cross, untouched, remaining.

That visual moment was one of the most powerful I have ever seen. We know Christ was sent here to die for our sins. We know He defends us to the Father, who never truly sees the ugliness of our sin because His son intercepts it. Once we approach the cross, our sin disappears. Not only is it wiped away, there is not residue. The enormity of that is often difficult to fathom. But, it is one of those elements we do not have to understand. It is the beautiful aspect of faith – of knowing that because we trust in Jesus as our savior, in a flash, in the tiniest of moments, our sin disappears and never reaches the Father.

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