Friday, March 6, 2009

The Joy that Comes from Pondering Our Forgiven Sin

It is safe to say that most, if not all, people in this world are chasing after joy. In our culture, the majority of the population seeks joy through the pleasures of the flesh. This comes in various forms, but the result is the same. Fleshly pursuits may lead to temporary, surface level happiness, but they do not bring sustained joy.

As we see in Genesis 3, fleshly pursuits often lead to anything but joy.

On the flip side of this, most people in our culture would rather do most anything but ponder their sin. In fact, avoidance of thinking about sin is very common. This is why so many people are seemingly always talking on the phone, texting friends, listening to music or playing around on Facebook, etc. These distractions keep them from having to be silent. When we are silent, we have time to both think about and feel guilt. When this happens, we must ponder our indwelling sin.

Many Christians do not even like to discuss sin. If you visit many churches today, the idea of sin is almost never mentioned. "Salvation" presentations go something like this, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Just trust in Him, and He will bring you joy and fulfillment as you receive His favor." That may sound nice, but it is not what we find in the bible.

In scripture, one chapter that stands out to me when thinking about sin is Romans 7. In this chapter, Paul struggles with the sin he still has in his life. We must keep in mind that this was an individual that we would probably all like our lives to emulate. Despite this, Pail admits to still struggling with sin. Toward the conclusion of Romans 7, Paul writes, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" The beauty for the Christian, of course, is that we have an answer to this question.

In Romans 7:25, Paul famously writes, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Then, in Romans 8:1, Paul says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." For Paul, joy comes after pondering his sin. Why is this?

The reason seems to be that Paul knows just how wretched sin is. He understands that He is totally unworthy of salvation and is still in desperate need of a Savior. Paul certainly remembers that he was dead in sin prior to God regenerating his soul.

When Paul ponders the depths of his sin, he can then rejoice greatly when he thinks about what an amazing salvation Christ has given him. Since Paul realizes what he deserves, and knows what he has received from Jesus, he has great joy.

If we will do as Paul did, we will also have great joy. We ought to spend time thinking about the depths of our sin and the great gift of salvation we have received.

If sin is "no big deal," then neither is salvation. However, if sin is an infinite abomination against a holy God, then salvation amounts to an infinitely valuable gift. This should bring us great joy.

No comments: