July 3, 2017

July 3, 2017

PSALM 103-105

Focus Verse: The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:8-12


I think a major problem with Christ followers today is that we don’t understand sin. More specifically, we don’t understand the magnitude of our sin. The problem with this is that if we don’t understand how great our sin is, then we can’t fully appreciate how much greater our God is for conquering that sin.


I want to be very cautious in writing this. It is an absolute mistake of the largest proportion to get too focused on sin. One could make a very compelling argument that there’s no point in even looking at our sin because Jesus has removed our sins “as far as the east is from the west”. So I don’t want to get too caught up in looking back at our past.


But this can be a point of huge growth in our lives if we do it appropriately. Your sin – even the smallest sins (all sins are equal in comparison to God’s holiness) – were enough to deserve the death penalty. When God created you, He had BIG plans for you. He created you to be like Him; completely holy, completely righteous, perfect in every way. But sin ruined that.


It would be like me grooming my son to be a rocket scientist (in which case someone else would have to groom him because that waved bye-bye to me in junior high) only to watch him turn into a serial killer. How far that fall would be! For my son to use all of the things that I had blessed him with, the education, the tools, the upbringing, and to use it to harm others instead of become what I intended him to be…what a waste!


But that is exactly what sin has done to us. It takes the blessings from God and turns them against our original purpose. Our sin – again, even the smallest of white lies – is a capital offense against a perfect God. This becomes blatantly clear when we see how much God had to give up to get us back. Jesus Christ gave up His place in heaven to come down and live a mortal life of rejection. The Creator came down to His creation only to be despised, spit at, persecuted and ultimately, crucified in the most drastic abortion of justice this world has ever seen: the only perfect and sinless man, hung on a cursed cross for crimes He couldn’t even be fully convicted of.


All because the greatness of our sin could only be defeated by the greater love of God.


So why is this important? Why does any of this matter?


Because if you take too light a view of your sins, which can be very easy in “the grace age” that we are living in now, we don’t but high enough a view on what Christ did for us. Luke 7:36-50 gives the most beautiful illustration of this fact with the woman who anoints Jesus’ feet with oil. The Pharisees (who had an extremely light view of their sins) criticized Jesus for allowing ‘this sinner’ to anoint His feet with oil. But Jesus, as only He could do, turns the tables and shows them that those who have been forgiven much show greater love, but those who have been forgiven little love little.


It’s not that this woman was a ‘worse sinner’ than the Pharisees. Romans 3:23 tells us that “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So this woman didn’t need more forgiveness than everyone else; she had a more accurate view of her sins. She had an experience with God in which she realized how far she truly was from Him and that she needed the most amazing grace to get her back to Him. And she received it.


Make no mistake, Jesus is greater than your sin. But never forget what it cost Him to buy you back. If that stays at the forefront of your mind, there will not be a day that goes by, no matter how bad your circumstances get, that you will not have something to be grateful for.

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