Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Big Sin

My pastor has often said that God hides most of our sin from us. If we could actually see the full extent of our sin, it would destroy us. We could not bear it; we could not believe that Christ's atonement could ever forgive the hugeness of our sin. And so God allows us to see only enough of our sin to know our need for Him and to depend upon Him for our salvation.

God seems to know that no one can fully discern his errors (Ps 19). He seems to be content to sanctify us a bit at a time, drawing us ever closer to Himself. He seems to think that there is no way for us to be made free from sin as long as we continue in the flesh in this earthly life.

And yet, Christians often take it upon themselves to point out to each other all their failings and sins.

IF they had the vocation to care for the souls of those they are crushing, that would be one thing.

And IF they had the real answer (Jesus' forgiveness) for those whom they have crushed (instead of telling them how they can fix their behavior and be better trusters, better servers, better Christians), that too would be a little bit understandable.

But when the business is to point out to others how they haven't quite measured up in "walking the Christian walk" and in "amending their sinful ways," you wonder where these people find their comfort in the end. If they're telling me what to DO to be a better Christian, then is DOING where they find their own assurance that they are God's people?


  1. Nice post, Susan. Thanks for this helpful perspective.

  2. One thing that my oh-so-leagalistic boarding school got right was the issue of authority. As in, who can call whom to account for sin, and who should keep quiet.

    I remember my dorm father laying into someone for talking with classmate about something she was doing wrong. "It's not your call," he said. "You're not in charge of her, you won't be called to account to her parents if she goes wrong. I will!"

  3. Just so I don't put words into Pastor's mouth that were not there....
    There is a reason he brings up the fact that God allows so much of our sin to remain hidden. He wants us to depend on the fact that, when we come to new realizations of the depth and pervasiveness of our sinful nature and mistrust, God is not surprised. God is not going to abandon us. God knew our sin all along. Pastor mentions this to comfort us by extolling the all-surpassing mercy of our Lord, even though we are capable of appreciating so little of the forgiveness He lavishes upon us.
    The reason I brought it up, though, is because it grieves me to see Christians who are determined to point out the speck in their neighbor's eye so that the neighbor can do what he needs to do to "get right with God." From those who trust in the Law, I expect such behavior. But it is particularly sad when those who trust in the Gospel slide into mode of wanting to "rescue" others by telling them how to amend their sinful lives -- and the amendment is not found in the absolution and the Lord's Supper. (I am, of course, NOT referring to those whose office it is, such as pastors and parents, to bring sin to light.)

  4. Maybe you could move this post to ML where the annual topic has gotten my goat, again! I thought we were Lutherans...Geez!
    Really ducking now,

  5. Debbie, I'm ducking right along with you. :)

  6. Debbie, I'm sighing and shaking my head right along with you. I thought about posting these things on Loopers, but I really don't want to fight it and pray about it and fret over it. I want to just wrap some presents and vacuum the living room and finish changing the bedding. But it sure would be nice if we could let that topic stay amongst those who wish to discuss it instead of having them burden those whose consciences have been freed.

  7. The thing is it brings back a whole lot of unnecessary guilt feelings for me, and I really hate that. I am thankful my girls have the freedom of the Gospel to live their own lives in it. Thanks for listening! Merry Christmas to all of you! The baby is just the cutest! :-) Debbie