Recovering A Holy Disgust For Sin…
One of the many roles of the Holy Spirit is to convict people of sin (John 16:7-11–please click HERE)–to help us know when we are sinning/have sinned and to help us turn to Jesus for forgiveness, transformation, and re-birth. The Holy Spirit often does this while we are reading the Bible, God’s Word that “reads us” even as we read it (Hebrews 4:12-13–please click HERE).
However, for many of us, when the Holy Spirit confronts us with our own sin, we are either
- In denial (“I didn’t do it!”)
- Indifferent (“Relax–nobody’s perfect!”)
- In defense/celebratory (“It isn’t wrong–it’s right!”)
All three of the above responses ultimately lead to the same end–
- for non-Christians who by the end of their earthly lives do not accept Jesus’ free offer of forgiveness of their sins through His death on the cross, such people miss out on forgiveness and eternal life in heaven;
- for Christians who have at one point in time received Jesus as Savior for the forgiveness of their sins, when we claim one or more of the three responses above to our specific sins, we continue in the sin and miss out on the true freedom and transformation offered to us by Jesus through His Holy Spirit.
“If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins
and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NIV).
For many of us, we must first be appalled at our sins
so that we can appeal to the Savior
for forgiveness, healing, and transformation.
If our sins are simply mistakes,
if they aren’t really a big deal (except for Hitler’s sins, of course),
if they are simply a part of life that should be ignored and/or quickly moved on from,
then why would we go to the trouble of obeying the Bible verses that command us to:
- voluntarily bring them up to God (1 Peter 5:6)
- give them over to Jesus (John 1:29)
- confess them specifically (not cover them up) (Psalm 32:5)
- weep over them genuinely (Ezra 10:1; Luke 22:62)
- make earthly amends for them (where possible–Luke 19:5-10)
If sins aren’t a big deal,
why would I put them on the curb (for removal!)
for the neighborhood & the trash collector (not to mention God!) to see?
Why wouldn’t I just keep them in the dank/dark/moldy basement, out of sight and out of mind?
Or why wouldn’t I celebrate them as virtue, the ultimate example of spiritual recycling?
“I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin” (Psalm 38:18 NIV).
So perhaps what we need today, especially for Christians!,
is a recovery of a holy & Biblical disgust of sin
(not a disgust of sinners, but of sin itself),
not denial of sin, indifference to sin, or defense of sin,
but a holy & Biblical disgust of sin
(and a turning to the Bible to know what really is sin).
Jude 1:23-24 NIV:
22 Be merciful to those who doubt; [love the sinner!]
23 save others by snatching them from the fire;
[point them to Jesus: don’t pretend there is no fire or that the fire is good!]
to others show mercy, mixed with fear—[beware of the fire’s effect on us & our own attraction to it!]
hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” [hate the sin!]
Let us dare to ask God to help us to
- truly see all sin for what it is–treasonous rebellion against God Himself,
- truly take responsibility for our sins,
- truly be troubled by our sins,
- truly be appalled at our offenses against God,
- truly realize the terrible cost of offering us forgiveness for sins–Jesus’ brutal/torturous death on the cross.
We humans would often rather follow up an initial lie with subsequent lies
in an attempt to cover up the first offense and to “get away with it”;
God would rather us “come to Him with it” and admit the lie so He can forgive us & transform us.
Let’s take a look at the following responses to sin of particular people in the Bible
(notice how they don’t deny or defend their sin, notice how they are anything but indifferent to their sin):
Ezra & All Israel (Ezra 10:1 NIV):
“While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God,
a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly.”
Peter After Betraying Jesus (Luke 22:60-62 NIV):
“Peter replied, ‘Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!’
Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.
Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him:
“Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”
62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.”
Nineveh After Being Confronted With Their Sin (Jonah 3:6-10 NIV):
“When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes,
covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.
7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
‘By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.’
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways,
he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.”
Daniel After God Reveals His People’s Sin (Daniel 9:2-19–please click HERE):
God reveals Daniel’s–and God’s entire people’s!–sins through the Scriptures, the Bible!
(this is a BIG reason why so few Christians truly read our Bibles)
Daniel responds to God’s conviction of sin
not with denial, indifference, or defense,
but with prayer, fasting, confession, weeping, and turning toward God (not running from Him!).
In all of the above Biblical examples (and there are many more in God’s Word),
the people react so seriously toward their sin
because they realize the seriousness of their sin.
What This Doesn’t Mean
This doesn’t mean that we walk around all day beating ourselves up over our sins (and it certainly doesn’t mean we go around rubbing people’s faces in their sins)! For every person who has said yes to Jesus’ free offer of forgiveness through His death on the cross, Christ was beaten up in our place!
On the contrary, God wants to teach us to be appalled at our sin so that we will actually bring our sin to Him for forgiveness and transformation (not so that we will carry around our sin and feel miserable every moment)! Learning to weep over our sin is a gift from God because it will cause us to more quickly give HIM the sin over which we weep.
Most of us don’t go to the ER for a common cold; it’s not pleasant, but we realize it isn’t a big deal.
ALL OF US, however, would quickly dial 911 if blood began pouring from our eyes and ears because we would recognize the seriousness of that condition and so we would act quickly, decisively, and strategically in response. We would call 911 immediately for the purpose of healing; God wants us to call on Jesus for the same reason, and one of the best ways for us to truly call on Christ is to learn to weep over our sins and to be appalled by them, to Biblically see how serious they are.
- Thus in 2 Corinthians 7:8-11 (please click HERE), God teaches us that He intends the sorrow/guilt we feel over our sin to help us turn to Jesus for forgiveness & transformation–such sorrow is godly and leads to life! In this passage the Corinthians Christians responded to Paul’s letter of discipline (pointing out their sins!) with earnestness & eagerness to confess & be forgiven, righteous anger over the vileness of their own sin, alarm at the dishonor their sin would cause Jesus, longing to be reconnected to Paul (whom they had sinned against), and concern & readiness to get back on the right path.
And as the Holy Spirit teaches us to weep over our sins, we can take comfort that Jesus promises one day to wipe away EVERY tear from our eyes, our tears from others sinning against us as well as our tears from us sinning against God and others.
Isaiah 25:8 NIV:
“The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.”
Revelation 7:17 NIV:
“For the Lamb [Jesus!] at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”
Revelation 21:3-5 NIV:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’
Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”
Almighty God, please teach us to weep over our sins, to be appalled at them.
Teach us also to bring them to Jesus and place them at the foot of His cross,
trusting that He will forgive us, transform us, and wipe away our bitter tears.
Then let us weep tears of joy for Your unearnable & amazing love and grace.
In Jesus’ name I pray, amen…