Reality of Sin in Me

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 John 1:8-10
If you have been following these recent meditations, you’ll know we have been following this same train of thought, that we are sinners in need of a Saviour. The apostle John, in his first letter, followed this line of thinking. Put simply, it is that this recognition of our state, and repentance over it, is the starting place (and continuing process) for the Christian life. Read this quote by theologian Richard Lovelace and the italics are ours for emphasis:
“The lifelong process of mortifying sin involves a gradual detection process by which the particular forms in which sin expresses itself in our lives… are uncovered to our view. Some of this discovery of sin occurs early in our Christian lives, but the subtlety of indwelling sin is such that many of its deeper roots remain under the surface of consciousness, where they will continue to distort our lives if they are not uncovered later….. The child who has been converted at eight faces a new crisis of repentance at puberty…. Even conversion itself opens up new possibilities of “spiritual flesh”: pride in spiritual gifts and achievements, envy of the spirituality of others, a gluttonous dependence on spiritual experience which cannot reconcile itself to an obedient walk of faith independent of sight” (Dynamics of Spiritual Life).
God warned Cain (Gen 4:7), “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” When we come to Christ we surrender our lives to him and we become ‘redeemed sinners’, otherwise known as ‘children of God’ (1 Jn 3:1) who shouldn’t be sinning, but sometimes do (1 Jn 2:1).
The New Testament message comes through again and again – we have been delivered from Sin, and the power of Sin over us has been broken (we’ll see this more later), but we are still prone to tripping up, the tendency is still there.  We may triumph over one area of sin today, but another will appear to be fought tomorrow.   Can we do this on our own? Definitely not!    We need a daily Saviour, and that is what the Cross is all about.
If you are still uncertain about this, be honest, look back over the past week. Can you honestly say that every thought you have had has been perfect, every motivation been pure, every deed unquestionable?  No, we’re not to be focusing all the time on our failures, but recognition of them is recognition of our need of Christ, and that’s what all these meditations in this part of Lent are about.
Yes, it is possible that, as you have read through these meditations of this past week, you have become fed up with the constant references to sin. Why can’t you dwell on something happy, you might be thinking. Well these are meditations about Easter, about why Jesus had to die on the Cross. If you don’t understand your sin you will never understand why Jesus HAD to die for you. You may think that your sinful nature that comes to the surface every now and then (as you see it) is not important. It is; it is the very thing that keeps you from God and stops God’s blessing flowing into your life. It is a critical issue and it is why God HAD to send Jesus.
You might be at a seaside resort and the lifeboat maroon goes up, then seamen come running and the lifeboat is launched and thrashes out to sea. Do you think, “Oh what a silly thing to do, going out on a rough day like this. I wonder why they should do something so crazy as that?” No, of course not. You know that somewhere out at sea, someone is in distress, someone needs rescuing. You may never have seen it like that before, but that that someone is you, and the lifeboat is Jesus.
Lord, your word calls me to be alert (e.g. 1 Pet 5:8), because I am vulnerable, a prey to the old sin factor, a tendency for getting it wrong.  I am aware that I don’t only need you to save me for eternity, but I need you to save me today.  I see there is a battle and I have to challenge the sin-tendency that Satan would seek to resurrect within me. It seems frighteningly easy to forget you, to turn away from you, and then fall.  I so need you today Lord.

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