Here we go...we’re going to talk about the “s” word today: sin.
The Bible has a lot to say about it, but things can get pretty uncomfortable when we bring it up. This concept may have even turned you or someone you know away from Christianity at some point. But hang with me, there’s something important for us to see.
None of us like to discover our flaws. If you’re like me, you sometimes look at yourself in utter confusion, amazed at the things you do, think, or feel. What we’re seeing in these situations is called sin, and it’s never fun to notice it or have it pointed out to us. A while back, I was telling a close friend about some sin I was seeing in my own life. I was pretty discouraged and down on myself when he surprised me with one of the most encouraging things anyone has ever told me. “Cheer up,” he said, “you’re worse than you thought.”
Now, that might not sound encouraging at first, but let me explain what he meant.
About 2000 years ago, Jesus went to the cross to pay the price for our sin. If you’ve trusted in Christ alone for salvation, then all the things you have done, are doing, or will ever do are taken care of by what he did in our place. He took everything we deserve. Everything we ever will deserve for our sin, he took for us.
Basically, my friend was saying, “Jesus isn’t surprised at your sin, and you shouldn’t be either.” Jesus is not looking down from his throne in heaven saying, “I didn’t know you would struggle that much. I didn’t die for all that.” That very moment when he took the wrath of God in our place, he knew every way in which we would fail, and he paid for all of it. Now that is great news!
“Cheer up, you’re worse than you thought” means that Jesus paid more than we know. His forgiveness is greater than we know. His love for us is greater than we know.
What does this mean for us today? It drastically affects how we approach our personal failures. We all have things we wish we could go back and do differently. Maybe you’re thinking now of things from your distant past, your recent past, or even today. God is not surprised by those failures. He died for them specifically, and it means that we can look them in the face with confidence and move forward. We can be honest with God, ourselves, and others about our struggles. Listen to these promises from Isaiah 30:
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength...
The LORD waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
When we fail, the last place we feel worthy to go is before God. He’s holy and perfect, and he created us to glorify him. Sin does grieve him, but Jesus came here to take care of that problem. The life of the Christian is marked by two things: faith and repentance. We put our faith in the one who says he paid for our sin. Repentance means turning in the other direction, so we are called to turn away from our sin. But when we turn away from our sin, where are we turning to? He calls us to turn to him. This is where rest and strength is found.
The Christian life is not about hiding, managing, or fixing our sin. It’s about beholding the marvelous grace of God, who knew exactly how we would fail, and sent his own Son to pay for every bit of it.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ...For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God...