"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." Psalm 51:1-2 (NIV)
The world we live in today has found ways to justify what God has called out as sin. Rather than accepting responsibility for our choices, we place the onus on our Creator by claiming that He is the one who created us with whatever urges we seek to satisfy. "It isn't my fault! I was made this way." Have you heard someone say that? Have you said it yourself?
Temptation is on every street corner and on every television screen. We are reminded continually that the scratch for our particular itch is readily available. "No money? No problem!" "No one needs to know." "It doesn't make you a bad person if you over-indulge in substances or physical gratification." "What does it really matter? Tomorrow is a new day, worry about it then not now." "Reach for what you want, everyone else does." "If someone gets hurt then they shouldn't have gotten in your way."
The enemy is always ready with a lie to make it easier for us to do what we know we shouldn't. But if God has named something as sin, then it is sin indeed.
In Romans 6:23 Paul reminds us, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." We do not need to be held captive by our sin. Jesus came so that we could have forgiveness and be free from the tyranny of wrongdoing.
Writing about sin is difficult. Difficult because it is personal, and yet, universal. Romans 3:23 says that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Each of us wrestles with something that needs to be brought to the foot of the cross and left there, never to be picked up again. That is what repentance is.
1 John 1:9 calls our attention to a magnificent promise, "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Almighty God, the great I Am, will hear us and forgive us. Not only that, but He does not put a limit on how many times He will forgive us. This doesn't mean we should continue in the same sin but, if we slip, we can return and repent and that forgiveness will be there.
There is an interesting quote by Paul David Tripp that I would like to share. He says, "Sin doesn't always look sinful to us; sometimes it looks beautiful. That's why we need grace to see sin for what it really is - dark, dangerous, enslaving and destructive."
Our sin separates us from the Lord. It creates a chasm that can only be bridged by the love and sacrifice of Jesus. In order to obtain that grace and forgiveness we have to go through Him. He is the only way to eternal life. We have to learn to be honest about the sin in our lives. We have to stop making excuses, stop justifying our wrongs, accept the fact that we are sinners and repent. Also, we need to be careful that we are not giving our approval for sin in someone else's life.
Father, thank you for telling us the truth about sin and how it affects our relationship with you. Please help us to have open eyes, minds and hearts so that we can see the damage it is doing in our lives. Remind us that you have made a way for us to be cleansed and free. And thank you for your grace and for never giving up on us. Amen.