Summary: Man’s way of dealing with sin vs. God’s way.
Sin and Self Deception I John 1:7-10
INTRO.: New York City’s Jesuit University, Fordham, has for many years had a ram as mascot for its football team. The ram is selected by an audition and is cared for by the students. In 1974, a newspaper article appeared announcing that the then Ram mascot, one Rameses the 24th, had given birth to a lamb. Discovering their "ram" was actually a ewe caused considerable embarrassment to the university and athletic program. The students explained, "It had horns, so we assumed it was a ram."
It’s very easy to be deceived, and the easiest person we have to deceive is ourselves. As John notes, we tend to deceive ourselves about sin.
We sometimes try to fool ourselves into believing we have no sin or we can handle the problems of sin and guilt in our own way. Who are we kidding? Only ourselves.
Sin is a deadly reality. It causes shame, fear, suffering, toil, grief, and death, both physical and spiritual. It separates from God. We need to know how to deal with it in a realistic way. We need to quit kidding ourselves and use the means God has provided to deal with sin.
I. Some of the ways men try to deal with sin themselves:
A. ILLUS.: The Muslim doctrine of Ragéd (one who sleeps in the womb), which affirms that a human pregnancy can be as short as 175 days and last as long as 5 years.
1. This was originally for the benefit of Muslim men, who were sometimes away from home for years on pilgrimages to Mecca. Meant to cover adulterous activity by their wives. This was very important because of laws governing inheritance.
2. In modern America, we try to cover up sin by legalizing it. I.e.: cohabitation, abortion, homosexuality.
3. We don’t like to think of ourselves as sinners, so we cover up sin. Isa. 5:20.
B. Consider the case of Adam and Eve: Gen. 3:12, 13
1. Adam blamed the woman (and by implication, God) and the woman blamed Satan.
2. We may try to justify sin by getting others to join in or blaming others.
3. Or we claim God has put us in such circumstances as to make it impossible to avoid sin.
C. If we can’t cover it up or blame someone else we may call sin a sickness:
1. This avoids personal responsibility. After all, who would impose guilt and punishment for a disease?
2. We may blame sin on childhood influences. That may be partly true, but the decision is still ours to make.
3. All these schemes for dealing with sin involve deception, what John calls darkness. God has an enlightened way to deal with sin and guilt.
II. God’s way of dealing with sin and guilt: let’s look at the example Jesus gave; the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11ff
A. First, recognize and acknowledge sin: I John 1:9
1. We are told the prodigal "came to his senses." Luke 15:17-19
2. Confessed his degradation and deprivation were caused by his own sin.
3. Recognized his sin was against his father and against Heaven. He is a sinner.
B. 2nd, take action to correct the situation: the prodigal got up and went to his father. V. 20
1. Nothing would be accomplished by sitting in the pig pen castigating himself.