Friday, August 28, 2009

grieving over our own sin

Some say we are human, therefore we sin. Not good since God created humans in his image as his Eikons (Greek word for image is transliterated, eikon). But as fallen humans, yes we do sin.

I know Christians who are sorry about their sins, but think that they can't help themselves. This is from an understandable, yet mistaken interpretation that we as Christians have two natures which are in a perpetual tug of war. And that according to Romans 7, we're going to do the bad we don't want to do, and we won't do the good we want to do; a tragic misinterpretation of that passage, which refers to all humankind in Adam, including Israel, under the law apart from the Spirit and grace.

There is that tension in this life in Jesus between moving in the direction of being conformed to the image of Christ, and instead being conformed to the pattern of this world/age. The two are polar opposites, but are experienced by us in Jesus in this life.

James minces no words about worldliness. And he tells us to grieve, mourn and wail over our sins. Not to accept them, but to humble ourselves before God. To grieve over our sins. And that as we do, God will lift us up.

We can't change ourselves, but we can confess our sins, knowing God will be faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is what I want to do. Instead of excusing sin, I want to meet it head on through Jesus by the Spirit, and in spite of all my weakness. I want to see God change my heart and make it more and more conformed to his heart.

Do I excuse any sin? Do I just chalk it up to being a sinner- which we have to acknowledge we are, since we do sin in this life-? Is sin something one can accept without consequences?

Or do I grieve over my sin before God, confess it to him, and want to by God's Spirit, put it to death?

Not a pleasant post, but not all of the Bible is pleasant. But it leads to a pleasant and good end for us, and for the world, in Shalom, in the true life through Jesus, that is real and enduring.

What might you like to add to this?


Marcus Goodyear said...

Romans 7 is deeply personal to me. I agree that it had broader meanings, but it also captures the frustration I have with my inability to be as good as God wants me to be.

I'm with you about sin, though. We have trivialized it. We are numb to it. It's one of the reasons I like horror and thrillers. People can't pretend evil isn't real when it gives them goosebumps and makes their heart race. In those instances, our bodies know the truth--and we have to take it seriously.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I hear you on your personal thoughts on Romans 7. Rejecting the more traditional Augustinian interpretation of Romans 7 does not mean that I don't think we aren't regularly in a struggle in regard to sin.

Good thought on horrors and thrillers. You're right. They do put a chill in us because we can sense real evil.


Diane said...

Hi Ted,

A beautiful post and very timely for me. I have such a sense of failure often with my children. Confession is the first route ...

Mama K said...

I know we must grieve our sin. I personally can not spend too much time thinking about it, though, or I would become less effective in my daily life. I would get bogged down. If I am going to "rejoice evermore" then I will recognize when I have failed, certainly regret it - how can it not make me sad to have disappointed the God who has given me everything, including immense unconditional love, the God who I truly love - but then move on, being thankful for God's forgiveness. There is a time for sadness and a time for great and glorious gladness. If I am grieving for my sin all the time (which I could since there is always enough sin to grieve for), am I truly accepting His forgiveness, or am I trying to do some kind of internal penance, some payment of my own, as if Christ's own payment is not quite enough? Just a thought.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks. I can indentify with what you say. I too have a sense of failure in regard to our daughter.

Yes confession and making thngs right, where we can. And continued prayer.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Mama K,
True, and this is a difficult one to navigate, Scripturally, for me.

On the one hand we have Christ's full and free forgiveness. On the other hand we dare not minimize where we do sin, and it's quite evident that Christians too sin- some sins quite devastating in their consequences- and fall for idols. And this does require repentance.

So both are necessary. The joy of the Lord is our strength, but notice after that is told to the peoople, in Nehemiah, there was a time of confession and mourning over their sin. I believe we need both.

Mama K said...

Thank you for that reference to Nehemiah. Perhaps there is insight to be gained in the fact that there was, as you pointed out, a "time" of repentance and mourning. It was deep, sincere sorrow before God when the people realized how grievous were their sins, even though they sinned mostly in ignorance. But once they had confessed, and knew God's forgiveness, they feasted. I think that is awesome... they feasted!! Come to think of it, every time I confess, I could celebrate God's forgiveness. I should! So sorrow is appropriate, for a specific time (not lingering guilt), and then, I need to be done with sorrow and rejoice in all that God is! This concept is causing joy to grow in me even as I contemplate it! Very cool!! Thanks for the thoughts!