sin

A Prayer for Good Friday

"Precious Blood" from The Valley of Vision:

Blessed Lord Jesus,

Before thy cross I kneel and see
the heinousness of my sin,
my iniquity that caused thee to be
‘made a curse’,
the evil that excites the severity
of divine wrath.

Show me the enormity of my guilt by
the crown of thorns,
the pierced hands and feet,
the bruised body,
the dying cries.

Thy blood is the blood of incarnate God,
its worth infinite, its value beyond all thought.

Infinite must be the evil and guilt
that demands such a price.

Sin is my malady, my monster, my foe, my viper,
born in my birth,
alive in my life,
strong in my character,
dominating my faculties,
following me as a shadow,
intermingling with my every thought,
my chain that holds me captive in the empire of my soul.

Sinner that I am, why should the sun give me light,
the air supply breath,
the earth bear my tread,
its fruits nourish me,
its creatures subserve my ends?

Yet thy compassions yearn over me,
thy heart hastens to my rescue,
thy love endured my curse,
thy mercy bore my deserved stripes.

Let me walk humbly in the lowest depths of humiliation,
bathed in thy blood,
tender of conscience,
triumphing gloriously as an heir of salvation.

The Consequences of the Fall in the Political Realm

Bruce Ashford and Chris Pappalardo in their book, One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics:

So, the political realm has everything to do with our relationships to other people. In the aftermath of the fall, the political realm remains structurally good but has been corrupted directionally. In other words, God structured the world in such a way that we would have politics and public life, and the fact of its existence is good. But because of the depravity of the human heart, politics and public life are always to some extent directed toward idols rather than toward God.

They continue:

The problem runs deep, deeper than most political analysts even conceive. But the problem is never politics, per se. Liberals aren't the problem. Conservatives aren't the problem. Politicians aren't the problem. We are. We all are—because we all have the entrenched tendency to twist God's created order into idolatry. Pointed toward Christ, anything in creation becomes a blessing. Pointed away from him, the greatest blessing becomes a curse.

Why We Talk About Sin

The late John Stott in Confess Your Sins:

We are not in the least ashamed of the fact that we think and talk a lot about sin. We do so for the simple reason that we are realists. Sin is an ugly fact. It is to be neither ignored nor ridiculed, but honestly faced. Indeed, Christianity is the only religion in the world which takes sin seriously and offers a satisfactory remedy for it. And the way to enjoy this remedy is not to deny the disease, but to confess it.

Sin, Confession, and Community

In confession there takes place a breakthrough to community. Sin wants to be alone with people. It takes them away from the community. The more lonely people become, the more destructive the power of sin over them. The more deeply they become entangled in it, the more unholy is their loneliness. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of what is left unsaid sin poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen in the midst of a pious community. In confession the light of the gospel breaks into the darkness and closed isolation of the heart. Sin must be brought into the light. What is unspoken is said openly and confessed. All that is secret and hidden comes to light. It is a hard struggle until the sin crosses one’s lips in confession.

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Super-Abounding Grace

Sinclair Ferguson in his book, Man Overboard: The Story of Jonah:

We would be foolish to think that anything God ever says or does means that we can treat sin lightly. But, when his children return to him in true evangelical repentance, accepting his chastisements and humbling themeselves before him, they should hang on firmly to the knowledge that God is able to make his name a praise among the nations even on the shoulders of his children's failures and sins. Nothing will stop him. If need be he will use the devil himself (as indeed he ultimately will) to bring glory to his name, and to fit his own people for their temporary and eternal destinies.

The principle by which God works is that where sin abounds grace super-abounds (Rom. 5:20). It is this super-abundance of grace and wisdom in God which can make our experiences, even in rebellion against him, serviceable in his hands to equip us for the future.

Battling Sexual Sin

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield:

Today, I now stand in a long line of godly women — the Mary Magdalene line. The gospel came with grace, but demanded irreconcilable war. Somewhere on this bloody battlefield, God gave me an uncanny desire to become a godly woman, covered by God, hedged in by his word and his will. This desire bled into another one: to become, if the Lord willed, the godly wife of a godly husband.

And then I noticed it.

Union with the risen Christ meant that everything else was nailed to the cross. I couldn’t get my former life back if I wanted it. At first, this was terrifying, but when I peered deep into the abyss of my terror, I found peace.

Butterfield provides a strong testimony about the power of the gospel over sin as well as a helpful introduction to John Owen's writings on sin, temptation, and repentance:

Indeed, John Owen’s understanding of indwelling sin is the missing link in our current cultural confusion about what sexual sin is — and what to do about it.

How to Overcome Temptation

James 1:12–18:

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Do You Have an Anger Problem?

It's not just the title of this post. It's a question worth asking yourself. Do you have an anger problem? I recently ran across a helpful post on the CCEF blog, written by Ed Welch, on the topic of anger. In it, Welch provides seven questions that we should ask ourselves as we attempt to answer the question above.

Think you don't have an anger problem? This post is written especially for you.

Keenly aware of the fact that you have an anger problem? This post will be helpful for you as well.

I certainly wouldn't claim to be blameless in the anger department. That said, I've found these questions to be helpful in a number of ways. First, I've realized that I may have underestimated the depth and extent of my anger problem. Second, it has helped me in my effort to discover the "sin beneath the sin" and identify the root issue under my sinful anger. Finally, it has helped me to invite my wife to be a part of this process and to understand the ways my sin may have impacted her.

Here are a few of Welch's questions:

  1. Do you stretch and enlarge the category of anger so it includes you? I know a man who doesn’t think he is angry even though every hour or so he threatens to rip off someone’s head. His narrow definition of anger? An angry person actually rips off someone’s head. Since he only wants to rip off someone’s head, he isn’t angry.
  2. Have you enlarged the spectrum of your anger by filling in some of the details from the Sermon on the Mount? (Matthew 5:21-22) For example, at one extreme is murder, at the other is our internal muttering, “what a jerk.” What’s in between? Of course, everything on this spectrum is murderous.
  3. In the last six months have you confessed your sin of anger, to both God and the injured person?

Read the entire post and the rest of the his questions HERE.



© 2019 Adam Stahr ¯\_(ツ)_/¯