I've got a lot of thoughts: go with me here.
I've been reflecting on sin.
Sin is sad.
It's wicked. And it's sad.
I believe and I trust and I know that everything works for the Kingdom. The things that are wicked, God beautifully works in and redeems. I've seen the evidence of a rebirth and transformation firsthand! But God is not the author of pride, anger, lies, disunity, confusion, tension. And when the beauty of a rebirth comes through sin and not obedience, that's tough. It feels like life is full of human sin and stupidity and failings and short memory loss on how great God is. Because of sin, we need a Savior to save us.
Sorrow is always my last response to sin in my life. And I wonder if that's right. I feel anger and bitterness first at situations and events in my life, which builds to confusion and a constant questioning on what I need to do.. and then I mourn. The dust settles, reality kicks in, and I'm often overwhelmed by sadness.
But I wonder if that should be first. Maybe mourning and sadness over sin is the right response. To mourn the presence of sin: to feel your heart broken: to feel great sorrow. Because I think we feel a little of what God feels when we disobey.
When we run away.
Do it ourselves.
Because feeling sin deepens the significance of the Gospel. Of the invitation we have to come before Christ as the unworthy, cruel, selfish, sinful people we are.
In Timothy Keller's sermon "The Gospel and Your Self," he talks about God moving from a concept to a reality. God as a concept is a God being shaped by us. It's a God that you believe in but hasn't changed you very much. You basically have more glory. But God as reality is you giving way to the glory of God. It's a radical change. God as reality is sacrificing your individual needs after coming into His presence.
But the point TK makes about this shift is this: you start to hate yourself. It's in the Bible everywhere: the moment the God of Job, Isaiah, Peter moves from concept to reality, they start to see themselves for who they really are. And that happens with us too: When God becomes reality, you think you're a sinner. You see your sin.
Keller says, "One second after Isaiah realized he didn't deserve to live and he was more wicked and flawed than he ever dared believe, he is now more AFFIRMED and VALUED and WANTED than he ever dared hope."
The more we realize our true nature, the more we realize who we are in Christ Jesus.
We become both bold and humbled: more wicked and more loved. All at the same time!
The Grace of God.
We're nothing but sinners saved by grace.
I think when I focus too much on sin, I miss the point. I miss the redemption. Sure, sin is devastating but that's the humanity of a fallen world. And sure, it's right to mourn.. but we must proactively mourn. Be filled with sorrow at the sin we throw at our Savior everyday but be OVERWHELMED and MOVED and IN AWE at the grace and the love we receive despite that.
How in the same moment we see the sin, we see we're loved more than we could ever hope.
So sadness is our cue: our call: to look at the big picture and see Christ on the cross.
We worship despite our sadness.
We recognize our continual sin and that should push us closer to the One who died to save us.
We mourn our sinful humanity because we know we were made to be in harmony with God and this disease has thwarted that (for now).
And His grace is so undeservingly beautiful and unexplainably rich.
(P.S. A partial dedication to my friend Andrew, who I hope makes it to the end this time. AND who runs marathons without training!! Check it out: How to Hack a Marathon if You Aren't a Runner).