It's not Texas heat but it sure is getting hot here. Case in point: the park I like to run at is called Seneca Park, a quaint little place with a 1.2 mile loop around tennis courts, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and a playground. There's lots of people watching to be done to keep me entertained during my laps. I went out yesterday to run, and it was near deserted. "How wonderful!" I thought. "The whole park to myself!" It turns out that there is a great lesson to be learned when the park is deserted: go home or melt. So after I near sweated myself to death, I had to cut a half mile off my run so I could live to tell about it.
So what does all of this have to do with sin? Our sermon at church this morning was about the freedom of confessed sin, and the primary text was Psalm 32:
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away...my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and you forgave the iniquity of my sin...Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. ~Psalm 32:1-2,4-5,10
Sin, simply speaking, is anything done (whether in word, deed, or thought) that counteracts the supremacy of God. Its aim is the promotion & pleasure of self. The question is not whether or not we sin at all but what we do in response to it. The ways we re-name sin in order to justify it are innumerable: "How was I supposed to act any other way? He deserved it!" or "I have a short temper. It's just the way I am." or "I'm a good person overall. No one is perfect." Yet these are mere excuses that keep us from dealing with the reality of sin in our lives and the ramifications it has on our standing before God. Sin separates us from the Lord, and, as we were created to commune with Him, it is draining to our souls. Just as the length of my run was limited by intense summer heat, the depth and enjoyment people can experience of God is limited when sin is cherished in our lives.
Sin can only be dealt with and confessed within the context of the Gospel. This is where hope truly lies. Out of His justice, God dealt with our sin by expending the wrathful punishment that we deserve. Only Jesus took it in our place and now serves as the cover for our own sin before God. Upon belief in Jesus' payment of our penalty, no longer do we have to hide sin with excuses and justification but we're able to confess and repent. When sin is uncovered through confession, it is covered through Christ. What freedom!
Shall we choose the sorrow that includes an inability to face our shortcomings and the pressure to morally perform before God? Or shall we rejoice in the Gospel of Jesus which allows us to be honest and free within the death of Christ on our behalf? Let's glory in the Gospel by glorying in open and free confession of sin.