A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON SIN
During church recently, I had one of those moments when the light bulb goes off in my head. Yes, I was listening to the sermon – that’s what triggered my realization. I guess I’ve known it all along, but it really hit me in a strong way this time. Maybe it’s nothing new to you, but in case it can help you I’ll share it with you.
I tend to go through life thinking I’m OK with God most of the time, but sometimes I sin and need to confess my sin (1 John 1:9) to get back right with Him. Isaiah 64:6 burst that bubble. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” I’ve counseled and taught that verse many times, but God showed me through it that I’m NOT OK most of the time, especially when I sin. I always fall short, even when at my very best. Even when serving, ministering, worshipping or teaching, I still need His continual grace and mercy. But the best is the way God applied this to my heart.
Sometimes I get discouraged when struggling with the same old sins and failings. I get disgusted with myself, and assume God must also. My sin gets me down because I feel that, after all this time, God must be pretty tired of the same failures from me. BUT, He is constantly forgiving me and accepting me because there is nothing holy or perfect I can ever do. You see, He knows I cannot do anything to impress Him, but He loves and accepts me anyway. He doesn’t expect perfection from me, He knows I am nothing but dust (Psalm 103:14).
The comforting and encouraging part for me is that I don’t have to worry about my occasional fall because I am fallen all the time. And if God can love and care for me through all that, He can continue to lovingly forgive my sin and encourage me to overcome it. That awareness gave me a new appreciation for God’s grace and mercy. My times of sin aren’t seen in contrast to the times I don’t sin. My times of sin are just part of my 24-7 need of His grace and mercy. It helps me accept His forgiveness and better appreciate the unknowable depth of His love and faithfulness.
Psalm 103:8-14 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
How do you respond when you sin? Can you accept God’s forgiveness and love, no matter how many times you commit the same sin?
How does it make you feel to realize that even your very best Christian behavior is like “filthy rags” to God – but that He loves you just the same?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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