When I first heard this harsh statement from a preacher, I was appalled to realise how true this is for me. I am a worse sinner than an unbeliever!
Believers tend not to sin blatantly because such sins cannot survive our conscience. So we have “upgraded”. We sin abstractly. These sins often “escape” our conscience; we have deceived ourselves to believe that we do not sin much and so it is ok. The weight of our Sin is no longer felt, or for some, never felt. However, until we feel the weight of our Sin, we are not in touch of the reality of the poverty of our souls and hence we do not realise the beauty of redemption provided by Christ on the cross.
How do we sin abstractly? For example, a kindergarten boy drew a detailed picture of a ship. The teacher praised the child and he beamed with pride. This natural pride of having done something special is healthy in growing confidence but this healthy pride quickly becomes perverted into arrogant pride when he begins to feel that he is more superior than his classmates. This slight shift to sin is often undetected. This sin begins to take root, grow and give birth to death.
Last two weeks, I come to realise how Sin runs deep in me. Healthy aspects in life can stealthily deteriorate into sinful lifestyle, with us being unaware the whole time. For instance, as mentioned in my last post, a natural need to seek fulfilment in life which should lead us to God often lands us to seek a sense of self fulfilment instead. A sinful destructive route that will leave us empty.
I will share a more personal illustration. Since the age of ten, I was a latch key child. What that means is I took care of myself and my brother. When I went to school, my parents were still sleeping. When I went to bed, they were still not back home. So I grew to be highly independent. This independence which is a coping mechanism and a developed strength became my stumbling block. I become proud of my independence and ability that I refused to be controlled. Though I may not have rebelled outwardly, but internally I am angry whenever I am being controlled. I became very self-reliant. However, what is so bad about being controlled? What is wrong with accommodating to others? Why do I become self-seeking and tend to prioritise my preferences? These become sins that are abstract. Often undetected by self and sometimes even others. However, sin is sin. It brings with it its deadly effects until God reveals and convicts. Then we repent. Then God restores.
Some Christians in recent years may comment that having to repent is not recognising Christ’s work on the cross. Jesus’ death on the cross has paid for our sins past, present and future. On the contrary, I am beginning to realise that we should repent often and quickly because of Christ’s work on the cross. Because forgiveness is already offered even before I repent, hence I should do so. Why?
Suppose there are two close friends. If A makes a mistake against B, and just because B is always nice about it, should A not apologise for the mistake? And just because B is nice about it, should A keep offending B continuously?
Let’s assume for a moment that B is a difficult to appease person and it would take a lot to placate B. Wouldn’t it be more difficult for A to say sorry and make amends? Would their relationship be strained and tiring?
Since B is always nice about it, it would then make perfect sense for A to quickly apologise, make amends and try not to offend again. The relationship is kept intimate and enjoyable, continuously and for a long time.
In the same way, because our sins are forgiven past, present and future, God is always nice about it, we should repent as soon as we realise. So that our relationship with God is kept intimate and enjoyable continuously. Being able to repent is a grace. Being able to turn and return to God is a blessing. A blessing of always having a second chance. A blessing to know that the moment I repent, the relationship is restored. A blessing to have God empower me to make corrections even though on my own I may not do it 100% well. A blessing to have God restore to me the flourishing in life intended at creation when sin did not compromise His design. As we rid of sin through repentance (changing of mind, heart and deeds), we are restored to the flourish meant for us; we would enjoy the favour of God.
Do you feel the weight of your sin? If yes, repent now and receive forgiveness. The call of God loses its meaning when there is no intimate relationship with God, the caller.
If you do not feel the weight of your sin, pray and ask God to reveal and convict you of your sin. Unless we realise how great a sinner we are, we will not realise how deep the grace lavished on the cross was. Unless we realised how deep the grace lavished on the cross was, the gospel remains as a concept. A good story to ease our conceptual conscience than a redemption of our lives and our immense guilt which demands our souls, our life, our all. May the Lord have mercy on us.
*Reflection One from Day Two of AWE2020*
Oh The Wonderful Cross by Chris Tomlin
When I survey the wondrous Cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain, I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride
See from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ever such love and sorrow meet?
Or thorns compose, so rich a crown
Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
All who gather here by grace, draw near and bless Your name
Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all