Summary: Jesus died for our sins and His death and resurrection have set us free.
"...For The Sins Of The World!"
The passion of every follower of Jesus should be to absolutely turn away from every act, thought, and attitude that grieves the heart of Almighty God as if they were a den of poisonous snakes ready to strike at any moment. We should be made so uncomfortable by the sin that plagues us that peace escapes us until we cry out to God in confession for our sin and only then find sweet release in His forgiveness.
Biblically I know this to be true, but the fact of the matter is that I am finding more and more of us who claim to be followers of Jesus becoming more and more comfortable with our sin. Instead of crying out to God for forgiveness and restoration we resort to making excuses as to why we do the things we do, justify our lack of holiness, minimize our sinfulness, and forsake the promises of God to "forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" if we would only confess from a broken and genuine heart.
Many today would find my words an affront to what is popularly being communicated and taught across our country today. Many believe that we must move beyond the antiquated teachings of the ancient prophets and teachers of the Bible and remove phrases like "sin, holiness, and repentance" from our vocabulary. The only problem with this is that popular opinion changes with the wind, but the Word of the Lord stands forever.
From a practical standpoint I can tell you that there is hardly a day that goes by that I do not end up speaking with someone who is feeling the crushing weight of sin bearing down on their soul. The way that we describe sin's toll on our souls varies, but the culprit is always the same. Some people talk about the emptiness they feel. They can't seem to buy their way beyond it, talk their way out of it, or find anyone who can deliver them from the gnawing emptiness that eats at their soul. No matter what they do, no matter how "good" they try to be, they can't seem to find satisfaction or fulfillment in life. Others describe sleepless nights where they toss and turn trying to find freedom from the sin that keeps them up at night. They speak of the anxiety that agonizes them as their efforts to shake free prove futile again and again. Still others talk about the guilt and shame that keeps them shackled to their past like a prisoner in chains. They've had friends tell them that what they did is no big deal, they sought counsel from therapists, and they've even asked God for forgiveness - but they can't get their devilish deeds out of their mind. David wrote about sins effects on his life and how he found release in Psalm 32 when he said,
1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:1-5 NIV)
We have too easily passed over the effects of sin upon our soul and as a result we are looking in all of the wrong places to try and find something or someone who can restore life to our lifeless souls. We are helpless, apart from Jesus, to deal with sins debilitating effects upon our lives. Asking me to absolve myself from my sin is as absurd as asking me to move the stars in the heavens, turn the sun off during the heat of the day, teach a newborn baby not to cry, or stop the earth from spinning. It can't be done. It has never been done. It will never be possible.
If it were possible for people to do away with their sin with fine works, eloquent words, or a thorough washing then Martin Luther would have been our model for how to deal with sin.
Martin Luther never intended to begin the Protestant Reformation. He was on his way to becoming a successful lawyer when, as a promising 22-year-old university student, on July 2, 1505, he was caught in a violent thunderstorm while riding on horseback. Lightning struck close to Martin and it threw him to the ground. He was so terrified and afraid of dying that he prayed to St. Anne to save him. Martin said, "If you will spare my life I will give my life to entering the monastery and becoming a monk."