Recently I have had some great discussion around the word “sin.” It is a word that seems to stop people in their tracks and carries a lot of weight.
As a society we are willing to admit to doing things wrong and making mistakes, but we are less willing to describe our actions as “sin.” Sin implies something else. Merriam Webster defines sin as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” Noel Heikkinen, an elder at Riverview, has given sin this definition:
Any failure to reflect the nature of God in nature, attitude, or action.
Committing “Sin” is different than doing something “wrong” because it defines the standard by which we measure our injustice. Not only that, it implies our actions have an eternal consequence.
I played in a band at Riverview for a number of years and we wrote a number of songs dealing with the juxtaposition between the weight of our sin and the enormity of God’s grace. I seem to struggle with fully accepting and understanding both at any one time. We sang the song below as a reminder of both.
Stop all this rebellion
Oh what horror when we worship things created
End all this rejection
How could we ever think idolatry would save us
Stop all this destruction
Sin only promises to leave us devastated
Leave this desolation
How could an idol ever overtake our savior
Judas we know full well, of betrayal
Peter we know full well, of denial
On that day, from sin we tried to hide
When the blood on the ground ran from him as he died
And in darkness, that stream found us,
And our cursing and hatred was covered by love.
Personally, I am always trying to hold up both sides of the barbell, understanding the full weight of my sin and the enormity of God’s grace. This song was an attempt at trying to grapple with my sin, describing it with words like rebellion, rejection, destruction and desolation. We can relate to the betrayal of Judas and denial of Peter in our own sin lives. It is a dark and grim picture, but it illuminates the gospel of Jesus when we remember that he has washed us clean. Just at the moment that our thoughts are overtaken by the weight of it all, the chorus brings us back to the truth of God’s work on the cross. In darkness we tried to hide, but the blood of Jesus finds us and covers over the ENTIRETY of our rebellion against God.
As followers of Jesus, we are reminded of the redemption from our past and called to a future of obedience. We are already saved and eternally washed clean and called to be a light to a broken world. Noel Heikkinen spoke in September from 1st John about our continuing struggle to follow the commands of Jesus.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. – 1 John 2:2-3
Noel said that our ongoing battle between the flesh and spirit is a good thing as it reminds us that we have the spirit and are saved. Our struggle is the same one that Paul spoke about in Romans 7. Although we still lug around the old man, we are God’s children NOW and eternally secure in Jesus as followers of him. We can be secure in the hope that one day Christ’s work in us will be complete and we will be like Him.
Want to know how you can get your sins covered by God’s love? Learn how Jesus’ death means we can become saved.
Image credit: Jeremy Mason