“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.”—Psalm 51:3 (ESV)
For the last couple of years I have had the privilege of teaching God’s people, many have come back to me with concerns. Concerns over my hermeneutic of preaching Law and then Gospel. (Hermeneutics is the study of the methods of [scripture] interpretation).
God speaks two words; His first is the word of demand (Law) and then His last word, the word of deliverance (Gospel). ‘Law and Gospel’ teaching or preaching (not Gospel and Law, order is important) is where Law is preached first (to expose our sin) and then Gospel is preached after (to expose Christ who has once-and-for-all conquered our sin and in Whom we have the forgiveness of our sins).
The concerns arise from my preaching of Law. Most of these concerned people raise issues like: “Aren’t you over-emphasizing sin?” “I feel like you are mourning sin”, “Sin lies in my past, can we talk about my present and my future?” and so many like those. Here are four reasons why you should always remember your sin.
1. Your sin grieves God. Since God is Holy, any unholy thing grieves Him and invokes His wrath. In the first place, it was Adam’s sin that shattered God’s relationship with mankind. Since we are Abba’s children, we ought to know that He has set boundaries (His perfect Law) and that our freedom should be within these limits He has set.
2. Sin is ugly (it has this tendency to look nice but vomit is never something to be proud of). Sin, when you first fall for it, it looks beautiful but make no mistake, it’s ugly, very ugly and it stinks. It promises what it can never give and it leaves whoever falls for it in misery: failed marriages, wayward kids, addictions, resentment, jealousy, fights, a lot of tears, etc. You have to remember the beast that sin is lest you are tempted into entering a marriage with it.
3. Sin is around us (all the time). Imagine falling in a pond filled with filthy water and then you start telling yourself: “don’t think about the pond, it’s not there.” Does that eliminate the pond? Even if you were pulled out of it, you need to always remember that there is a pond in your vicinity lest you fall in it again. Remember. Remember. Remember that as a Christian sin still stalk you like a mother lion stalking its prey.
4. It needs to be repented (and forgiven every day). The sins we always bring to God in prayer are those we struggle with, and thankfully so, God has done something about our sin. But when we choose to deliberately forget our sin, we stop looking at it as sin and it will grow into a habit and later an addiction. Remember your sin, always.
There is a reason why God in the Old Testament always reminded the Children of Israel of their past: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” That way, they were equally reminded of how gracious God had been and continued to be for them.
Likewise, when we are reminded of the sewer pit we fall into every day, and the rebellious life we used to lead, we are reminded of the gracious God who pulled us out without asking anything on our part. Grace is appreciated the most by people who remember how deep they had fallen and to what length God stooped to pull them out. Our sin is reminiscent of our gracious God. God reminds us of our depravity because He loves us so much to let sin devour us.
That is your Lifeline, AMEN.