Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Meditating on Sin (that didn't sound right)

I've been thinking a lot lately about sin.

Now that sounds like a discouraging thing to be thinking about doesn't it? Why not something more positive? Why not meditate on something that delights one's soul? Why not think about something lovely?

Turns out, my meditation on sin has been exactly a meditation on those kinds of things.

On Sunday mornings, we at Crosstown have been studying the book of 1 John. Last week we moved into chapter 2 and read these words:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

One of the questions we asked of this text was this: Why does God permit us to continue our moment-by-moment struggle with sin? Why does he allow us to continue to fail him in act, attitude, and nature? Why doesn't he completely eradicate sin from our lives now?

We found our answer in the words of Jesus who once said this to a Pharisee named Simon:

"A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly." . . . He who is forgiven little, loves little. (Luke 7:41-43, 47b)

Did you catch those last few words? He who is forgiven little, loves little. One of the effects our on-going struggle with sin is supposed to have is to remind us of how much we have been forgiven. How unfortunate that most of us don't think much on how much we need the forgiveness of God. That's why the apostle John reminded his readers of how desperately we all need the forgiveness of God:

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)

We are so desperately in need of the forgiveness of God that Jesus took to the cross to secure it. He "propitiated" the wrath of God caused by our sin by satisfying the justice of God on the cross. Note well: sin--all sin--is horrible and brings the wrath of God. And the only way God's wrath may be propitiated is by the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. That's how badly we all need God's forgiveness. That's how much we have been forgiven.

And when I meditate on how badly I need and have received that forgiveness something strange happens to me. I find my love for God has increased as well.

So thank you, Lord, for reminding me of my sin.

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