Summary: Forgiveness flows from His throne perpetually, through the perfect atoning work of Christ.
I want to talk to you about the most unpleasant subject that man has ever been forced to contemplate. It is, in fact, so very unpleasant, that men have tried to put the subject completely out of the realm of serious consideration, by saying that the thing itself is an old fashioned notion; that it is a concept invented by the very religious, to frighten their children into good behavior and hold the religious-minded man under a weight of guilt that will keep him on the straight and narrow.
I want to talk to you about sin.
Now I am not going to waste your time and mine here, debating the worldly philosophers of every age and trying to convince of sin. Convincing and convicting of sin is a work that falls under the auspices of the Holy Spirit, and He does it quite well.
The Bible talks about sin as a matter of fact, and so will I.
In Genesis we are simply told, “In the beginning, God...” It does not say, “In the Beginning THERE WAS God”; and the Apostle John opens his gospel with the same assertion; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God...” He does not attempt to prove the existence of the Word; he simply lays down the facts of the case.
With this same matter-of-factness, in Genesis, we see God finishing His creation, and no sooner does He create the man and the woman, and give them simple instructions for successful and continued fellowship with Himself, than we see man going his own way and introducing sin into the world, and death through sin, by disobedience.
Then turning back to the opening verses of John, he also goes straight to the problem; “There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” And if we turn to the third chapter of John’s gospel and read his first recorded discourse of Jesus with the Pharisee, Nicodemus, we find Jesus pronouncing the terrible verdict of mankind’s case in these words, “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.”
Now we have to be very careful here, not to deceive ourselves or let ourselves be deceived into focusing our minds on the Jews who rejected Christ, or the condition of the world before the Flood, or just generally thinking of some historical evil; like Nazi Germany or the godless dictators of today’s middle east, or the crazies of our own nation who occasionally show up at the workplace with a gun and start shooting people; and tell ourselves that these are the nasty folks that Jesus is referring to when He says “...men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.”
C.S.Lewis said it quite well:
“The greatest evil is not done in those sordid dens of evil that Dickens loved to paint... but is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices.”
Jesus was pronouncing the verdict of mankind’s case, and that word ‘mankind’ includes everyone. All of us. All of mankind was in Adam’s loins when he sinned, therefore, all sinned.
When Paul says in the third chapter of Romans that, “All have turned aside. Together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.”, he is talking about every man and woman and child of Adam’s race.
So the horrible fact of sin is well established in scripture, and to argue the reality of it or deny the presence of it in ourselves, thereby rejecting the cure, is the very zenith of foolishness. In fact, the attitude itself only serves to prove the existence and the destruction of sin, as surely and finally as jumping off a cliff proves gravity.
I’m presenting you with a rather lengthy introduction today, but there needs to be a solid foundation laid in your understanding in order for you to fully realize what our text verses tell us about sin as it affects our relationship with the One who shed His blood to pay for sin, and now intercedes for us according to the will of God.
But once I get to the text itself I promise to be as brief as possible, so please be patient.
The thing I want to explain then, is the difference between having sin in the flesh, and having sin on the conscience.
Before someone comes to believe in the atoning work of Christ and appropriates to himself through faith the forgiveness of sin provided through that sacrifice, he is entirely in sin. The Bible says that he is dead in trespasses and sins. There is a decree of debt against him, that he cannot pay; and in fact, does not want to pay.