One concept that is being lost in the church today is the sinfulness of sin. In olden times the puritans especially compared sin to a festering wound that was probed and cauterized before healing balms and bandages were applied.
Israel’s Rebellion and God’s Wrath
…13″For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. 14″They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. 15″Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; they did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be cast down,” says the LORD.…Jeremiah 6:13-15
Sad to say many of us take advantage of the freeness and fullness of Christ’s salvation and make our sin past tense without seeing it for what it is.
That God sees the believer holy in Christ positionally is true to scripture. Yet our sinful ways continue and most tried Christians see that they are not what they should be. To be obsessive about our sinfulness to the point of despair is to be avoided at all costs. We have gone to the other extreme and treat our sins as venial and deserving of forgiveness.
If we were in financial difficulties the first thing we would do is look at our debts and bank accounts and examine them. We would look our difficulties full in the face. Sometimes we must do this in relation to our past and present sin and sinfulness. It is only then we can begin to deal with them in repentance and mortification. This means doing our part in killing and subduing the remaining sin in our lives. The Work of Christ for us and the work of the Spirit in us make this possible. It remains an ongoing work, negatively repenting and subduing sin while positively seeking for and growing in sanctification and likeness to Christ.
Another problem is that the evangelism of today in seeking to bring people to Christ makes little account of the problem of sin and the reason why they need Christ as saviour in the first place.
While we do not need to teach then everything while they are “standing on one foot”: surely the fact we are sinners and lost without hope rates more than just lip service.
12Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;…Phil 3:12-15
If anyone could claim to have reached the “Pinnacle” of the Christian life it was the apostle Paul. Yet here we find him seeking to go further, to progress upwards. He did not rest in his past achievements and experiences. There was always further to go, always work to be done and need to be met. Most important there was a Christ to draw nearer to and to grow into likeness with.
Would that we all had a spark of such desire!