I’ve been dithering writing this post. I’ve wanted to write something about repentance, sin and grace for a week or so. As I walk through Lent many of my readings have covered similar matters that have further stimulated my thoughts.
Further, we had a visiting Pastor speak at church the other day on the topic: “God is after my thoughts”, which added weight to some of my own ideas.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV)
Do you struggle with recurring sins that invade you regularly? What about the idols in your life that consume too much of your waking hours and desires. I sure have both and I take a degree of comfort from the above verses as it validates that our sins cling to us. Our sinful nature isn’t likely to walk away without a fight, hence, the reason we keep grappling with particular issues.
Too often I’ve found my initial response is to tackle the issue myself so I’ll research it, get some reading material and/or participate in courses to help me combat it. Now in itself I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with getting assistance so as to help change a habit or whatever.
But in many respects if we’re only seeking human intervention, we’re bound to fail. Because what we end up doing is focus too much on the sin and ourselves.
On accepting Jesus as our Lord we might think the sin issue is now sorted. We’ve acknowledged our need for Jesus and responded affirmatively to the gospel. “Yes, the power of sin has been broken, but the presence of sin still remains inside us and is being progressively eradicated by God’s delivering grace.”1
But those pesky sins keep clinging to us. It’s sin’s nature to do that as the verse above implies. One voice keeps telling us what a failure we are because we can’t get this thing under control and so we keep working in our own strength to resolve it. We ask people to keep us accountable, to check in on us and help us. And a day doesn’t go by when we ask for forgiveness and even cry out to God: “Help me, please.”
“No mere human has ever been able to conquer its (sin) power on its own.”2
It’s taken me a long time to learn. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have moments of feeling “fainthearted.”
Interesting that the verses above give us the formula to successfully running the race of endurance.
“… looking to Jesus …”
Yes, yes, we all know that. But what does that look like in the everyday as we fight off those pesky sins that won’t let us go? How do you not keep being distracted by the runners on either side of you that are crowding your lane? Or the one that is way out in front and appears to be doing it really easily?
I’ll save my thoughts for my next post.
In acknowledging that Jesus needs to be whom I turn to when I drop the ball is wonderfully re-assuring. In recognising my need for Jesus throughout every day has helped me appreciate how much I need His grace everyday.
Let’s celebrate the grace that Jesus makes available all day every day.