Jan 13, 2010

Sin and the Power of the Gospel: Part 1

Here is a glimpse into what I am studying and prayerfully contemplating as I just finished reading through Romans and started into Respectable Sins, by Jerry Bridges:

John Newton said, "My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior."

Apostle Paul said, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost." 1 Timothy 1:15

Luke writes of a well-known tax collector who said, "God be merciful to me, a sinner." Luke 18:13

Each of these men saw themselves as great sinners with the saving grace of a great Savior. Most people, including myself at times, have lost contact with the reality of the depth of our sin. In fact today's generation as a whole does not even know what the word 'sin' actually means nor the consequences it leads to. The well-known New Testament scholar D.A. Carson made a comment that the most frustrating aspect of doing evangelism in universities is the realization that students generally have no idea of sin. He states,"They know how to sin well enough, but they have no idea of what constitutes sin." The idea of sin has vanished from common knowledge.

Sadly, the preaching on sin is all but vanishing from many churches in our society as well. Or if sin is 'mentioned' it is merely stated as a 'boundry-line' for those outside the church to indulge in. And those inside the church typically exclaim they have little to do with sin.... or at least they have no 'major' sin to be concerned with and nothing that would demand immediate attention for resolve.

Our American culture (yes, even within many churches) at large has been deceived into a state of softening toward sin in order to accommodate modern sensibilities. Powerful, strong, and convicting biblical words for sin have been utterly excised from our common vocabulary.

Jerry Bridges states it well in the following quote from his book, Respectable Sins:

"So what about our conservative, evangelical churches? Has the idea of sin all but disappeared from us also? No, it has not disappeared, but it has, in many instances, been deflected to those outside our circles who commit flagrant sins such as abortion, homosexuality, and murder, or the notorious white-collar crimes of high-level corporate executives. It's easy for us to condemn those obvious sins while virtually ignoring our own sins of gossip, pride, envy, bitterness, and lust, or even our lack of those gracious qualities that Paul calls the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22)......We look down our religious noses at "sinners" in society without any sense of a humble "there but for the grace of God go I" sort of spirit.......Sin is sin. Even those sins that I call "the acceptable sins of the saints"-- those sins that we tolerate in our lives--are serious in God's eyes. [Such as] Our religious pride, our critical attitude, our unkind speech about others, our impatience and anger, even our anxiety (see Philippians 4:6); all of these are serious in the sight of God."

Our nation (and others!) need to be called back to the Biblical truth of what sin is, the affects of sin, who we are in sin, and how be be freed from the death of sin.

Isaiah the prophet wrote, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (53:6).

1 comment:

Mrs. Josh McPherson said...

Right on sister...great words, humbling for sure. Thank you for the reminder of the truly amazing grace of our Lord and the sin which so easily entangles us. Love to you...