In the last post, I basically said that sin is gangrene, but how do we get a knowledge of sin that we grasp down to our bones? Have scholars, academic theologians, the church fathers or the creeds accomplished this for us? Can man’s highest reasoning lead us to spiritual knowledge?
Here is what Jesus says:
“I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.” Matt. 11:25
and on another occasion:
“Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 16:17
Knowledge and revelation come from God. I have experienced countless times that I truly know nothing unless God shows it to me.
We can be told that it is sin that is leading our bodies to death, and on the one hand we can believe this by faith. We hear this truth and we receive it. But, there is another sense in which this has to be revealed to us. True acquaintance with sin is utterly personal. It goes so far beyond an intellectual belief that sin is real, to having the depth of one’s own sin revealed to them.
Sometimes when we try to see sin on our own, we favour the surface. This is where we get fired up about homosexuality and gloss right over spiritual pride (the sin that Jesus rebuked more than any other by far Luke 11:39, Matt. 23:1-4). And this is where our relationships fray. We tell another person what they are doing to hurt our relationship (their sin), and it does nothing to open their eyes. By the same token, we often have little sensitivity to the pain we inflict on others. They are blind, we are blind.
There were once two blind men who cried out to Jesus (Matt. 20:30). And they make pretty good symbols of you and me.
At that time, the religious people claimed to “see” and their sin remained…(John 9:41). But the helpless blind cried out to God to open their eyes, and He performed the miracle on their behalf.
It can start with admitting we are blind, crying out for God to give us eyes to see spiritual things – like our sin (Matt 13:15,16), and humbly receiving His merciful power.
I can also happen that God, in His grace, will humble us with this kind of revelation. This happened to me recently. I was simply given insight into the inner person. I caught a glimpse of what I live out of, when I’m not living by the Spirit. What sorts of hungry, desperate motivations are at work in my flesh – and which seek to rule as often as they are given the freedom. Suddenly, sin became a crystal clear choice. I could give in to this mad woman, and let her destroy my life, or I could choose to make her submit to the Truth and the will of God for my life…which is to put aside my desires and put others first. That’s death. Death to self.
A good friend once told me that Joy stands for: Jesus, others, yourself. How apt.
But it is true, that once the grips of sin are revealed and we run from them – turn away from our depravity to God, that all the promises of Scripture then become real within us. We are not knee deep in a powerless battle to overcome this or that particular sin problem (like trying not to swear, or look at pornography, or react to people in anger). Instead, we literally have a second nature birthed in us. Two natures. The old is 100% dead, riddled with sin, claws to hold onto its sin which it loves. While the new is actually alive, free, and radiating perfection. Every day, every moment, becomes a choice. Its challenging. Its convicting! Its real.
More to come on that. Join me next time as we further the conversation on life.,