Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.
(Micah 7:8-9 – ESV)
(Micah 7:8-9 – ESV)
When we mess up real bad, and we lack an assurance of our salvation, we need to focus on the more complete truth, which includes the primacy of Christ’s sacrifice for the payment of our sins. The current truth is that you are guilty, you have sinned, but the ongoing truth, the complete truth is that you are also forgiven, and that you will rise up again. You may feel His righteous chastisement, but He will always bring you back into His loving arms once again. Indeed, because He chastises you, this is the indication that you never left. Repent, and be restored to the joy of God’s salvation with a blessed assurance.
Of course, our sin is personal and we cannot simply expect theological ramblings to help us if they remain cold, sterile, and impersonal. These things must be lived out in community. Often what we need is to do a better job modeling brokenness and forgiveness in church. Somehow, we don't trust grace; we think we need to shame people into repentance first. I disagree with that. God's way is love; we draw people to repentance by showing them how much more beautiful life is when we are free from sin and free to love.
We think freedom from sin means an absence of desire, but it doesn’t. What it does mean is that I am free to not sin, not that I am never going to have sinful desires. I have a choice; I can enter in, or fall back into sin. Our flesh is not cured by God it is killed by God, and we live that out by faith. We are able to rise up again. Whatever the issues may be, the single issue has been forever settled in your favor. Rise up to Him in faith.
When you are able to see this beautiful truth of the gospel more and more clearly you will sin less and less, because Christ will become more and more what you treasure. We have this great treasure and a down payment in our lowly bodies, these jars of clay hold the power of God. We have nothing of ourselves to boast about, but we can always be boasting of the cross, what God has done for us in Christ. That is something worth being thankful for. It is the reason we come to church, and why we can rejoice in Christ with one another. It means that I can believe in God and I can believe in you because you believe in God. We are justified by faith, and we can live by that same faith. Amen.