Sinning really isn't the worst thing

Oh it’s bad.  It’s very bad.  It’s murdering your Maker.  It’s cheating on your Lover.  It’s grieving His Spirit.  It’s tearing apart your soul.  It’s bad.  Bad, bad, bad.

But not receiving forgiveness is far worse.  Failure to accept the grace of Jesus dwarfs all other sins in its monstrosity.  To refuse the vulnerable humility of God; to trample on the Lamb and blaspheme His Spirit as they offer blood-bought mercy and cleansing – this is unspeakable evil.  It’s the reason people perish eternally.

Don’t believe me?  1 Thessalonians 2:10:

They perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved.

Those in hell are there for refusal to love the life-saving truth of the gospel.  To sin is one thing.  To refuse forgiveness is itself unforgivable.

Now we know this on a macro level.  We know that eternity does not depend on minimizing sin.  It depends on receiving forgiveness.  We believe it for that Day, but do we believe it this day?  Do I live today as though sinning (or not sinning) is the ultimate spiritual barometer?  Or is my spiritual barometer daily calibrated to the forgiveness of Christ?

Here’s how I naturally assess my Christian walk.  I rate my ‘performance’ largely by how much distance I’ve managed to put between me and my last ‘big sin.’  (Of course it’s ‘big sins’ I’m interested in, if I worried about the little ones my holy-count would never get off the ground).  When the number of ‘sin-free’ days hits double figures I’m doing great.  In fact, once I’m talking in weeks rather than days it rockets me into the righteousness stratosphere.  Best of all, it finally allows me to minister to people from the safe distance of ‘All-figured-out-holiness.’ 

Of course when I sin it sucks.  Why?  Because I’m back to zero.  My functional righteousness is caput and I’ll have to endure the hassle of a ‘holy’ fortnight before I can feel good again.  If I minister to people it will have to be out of broken messiness and a dependence on the grace of Jesus.  Ewww.

Now that’s a stark way of putting it.  But I don’t think there is a nice way of portraying this mindset.  While ever we pursue the Christian life as though sinning is the worst thing and ‘not sinning is the most important thing’ then such a foul system will develop.   But it’s to entirely forget the gospel. 

So friends, perhaps you’ve really blown it recently.  Praise God this could be the opportunity to realize your profound and continual need for the blood of Jesus.  Allow this to teach you the truth – the person you showed yourself to be in your sin is the person you have always been.  It springs from a heart full of evil which you will carry to the grave.  Your only hope lies far above and beyond yourself at God’s Right Hand.  He is your profound and continual need.

Perhaps you blew it a while ago but you just can’t seem to get beyond it.  Friend – the Word of God forbids you to take your sin more seriously than Christ’s forgiveness.  Is your sin great?  Yes.  But is it greater than the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world?   Is it beyond the redeeming value of God’s own blood (Acts 20:28).  I think your sin has met its match in Calvary’s cleansing flow, don’t you?

Perhaps you haven’t blown it for a while now but you’re realizing you operate according to a functional righteousness.  You hate sin only because it spoils your ‘holy count’.  You’re proud and graceless.  Well meditate on Philippians 3:1-11.  Know that such ‘righteousness’ is dung and reckon it all as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.  He alone is your life and peace.

Or perhaps you’re a blogger who writes about grace.  You can dissect the sins of works-righteousness and see through latent Pharisaisms.  Well neither are you righteous for your pithy critiques of the flesh.  You haven’t got it figured out.  If you know anything it’s that you’re ignorant.  If you have any strength it’s only found in your helplessness.  There’s no credit to your insight, there’s only rest in His mercy.  You are nothing.  Jesus is everything.

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Posted on by Glen in gospel, pastoral theology, sin

About Glen

I'm a preacher in Eastbourne, married to Emma.

0 Responses to Sinning really isn't the worst thing

  1. bobby grow

    Amen, Glen! I hate sin, I hate the struggle . . . I’m sure glad the LORD hates sin more, and struggled against it more; and more, that He could and did do something about it!

  2. Dev

    most definitely.. the parable of the unforgiving servant

    yet isn’t it the same one sin that everyone is judged for anyway?
    John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

  3. glenscriv

    Dang – just lost my reply. Oh well, here’s the potted version…

    Thanks Bobby – He is bigger than our sin. I very often share my picture of the big fish eating the medium eating the smallest fish with people. You are the littlest one – sin’s gon na swallow you whole. But praise God Jesus has stepped in.

    Hi Dev – I definitely should have mentioned the unforgiving servant. Good one.

    And I definitely want to say that sin is fundamentally unbelief too. Yes John 3:18 and what about John 16:8f – the Spirit convicts the world with regard to sin in that men do not believe in Me.

    In my thinking though there are some distinctions that are worth holding onto. Like:

    a) sin and sins (like tree and fruit)

    b) faith and works – there’s a significant sense in which we don’t want to coordinate sin and unbelief, lest we make faith into a work and grace is no longer grace.

    c) there is ongoing sin (which of course diagnoses ongoing unbelief) that persists in the believer.

    Any help on how to reconcile all these things? Or am I making false distinctions??

  4. Dominic

    Thanks for the really good post. :) God bless

  5. glenscriv

    Thanks Dominic. God bless you.

  6. Dev

    about John 3:18 – the sin is always rejection of Christ – it is merely made ‘worse’ or rather ‘realised to its full sinfulness’ by rejecting His offer of salvation
    How angry is the Father now!

    Acts 17:30 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent..

    hmm i’m not really very good at breaking things down into the details =)

    btw, still not totally convinced on the prodigal son thing.. I know what you’re saying.. but i think something is quite missing – will get back to you

  7. Milton Stanley

    This one knocked me flat on my back. And–praise God–that position is letting my eyes look in the direction they need.

  8. glenscriv

    Thanks Milton,

    Nothing humbles like grace huh?

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