Sin is outdated, unloving, and irrelevant. Sin is what puritanical preachers use to control their lemming congregations. We no longer “sin” because there are no moral absolutes. We have preferences and need to be tolerant of each other’s choices.
But here’s the challenge—For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
If we need God’s help and rescue from impossible situations, we must face our chief problem—sin. Sin is anything against God’s commands.
Isn’t it interesting that God’s usual method of showing us how evil sin is, involves displaying its true ugliness in our neighbor?
Sin is the most challenging thing to own up to in life. Most of us prefer never to acknowledge it in ourselves. It is egregious when we self-righteously observe it in our neighbors. But, hopefully, we’ll see that sin is just as revolting in us.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”—
and you forgave the guilt of my sin (Psalm 42:5).
The recognition of our sin is, in reality, a sign of God’s great mercy and care for us. God permits insurmountable problems to bring us to this new revelation and confession about ourselves. He wants us to see how far the disease has progressed in us, so we cry out to him for healing. God doesn’t want us to wander off into the desert and get lost forever, but to come back home and dwell in his everlasting care—in freedom and joyfulness. Without God engineering this encounter with our sin, we’d never perceive our obvious need for the price Christ paid on the cross.
When this eye-opening experience of our sinful nature occurs, it should leave us shattered. If we’re discerning things correctly, we’ll know that there’s not a single thing we can do to fix our problem. The worst thing we can do in our desperate situation is to try to make things better through our feeble efforts. This is a recipe for disaster.
Setting out to fix things on our own inevitably leads to one of two dead ends. Either we’ll be convinced that we’re doing a pretty good job and fall into pride, judgmentalism, and self-righteousness. Or, we’ll realize that we can’t live up to God’s high standards and fall into the pit of despair.
The solution to this quandary is an undiluted dose of divine grace. God knows we can’t do a thing about the central problem in our life and has already provided the only solution that can work. We call it “grace.”
Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5).
It’s the immovable ground of God’s mercy and care we find at the foot of the cross. We face our sin the same way we face the loss of home, marriage, family, health, finances, career, reputation, and the rest.
We give it to God.
The burden is too unbearable for us. We confess that unless God redeems and saves, there’s no rescue for us in the world. By recognizing our sin, we see the situation with the utmost clarity—the total insufficiency of our efforts and our complete safety in him.
So instead of running away from acknowledging our sinful nature, there is God’s great love and freedom found in admitting our weakness and crying out to him to help break our bonds. We care about the now. God cares about the forever. He is with us through every trial and grief to bring us to his perfect plan for our life.
The Good News
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen (Jude 1:24–25).
At the very end of a little letter (Jude) way in the back of the New Testament are two rarely noticed verses that have packed into them the entire Gospel. Here is the happy and shackle-breaking news that summarizes the whole Gospel, what we refer to as “the good news.” Jesus finds us in this life just where we are (sins and all), carries us through our years by his power and mercy, then, in the end, sets us down safely in the presence of the Father as totally acceptable in his sight. He does it. We don’t. What good news! There’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world.
A good verse to memorize:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
-Photo by Christian Garcia on Unsplash
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