Tuesday, October 25, 2011
These are radical thoughts in our sophisticated, modern society. We are encouraged to pretend sin doesn't exist anymore, if it ever really did. But that's not what the bible tells us. It calls sin what it is and lays it on the table for all of us to see!
There are so many stories in the bible that show us the reality of sin in the lives of the people of God and their complete dependency on Him for forgiveness and restoration. I revel in these stories! So many sinners! They were far from the perfect little cardboard characters you and I would probably create if we were telling the story. But, God shows us their weakness, their depravity, their sin in all of its ugliness. And then He shows us, He loved them anyway!
We all know about Moses, the great leader of God's people. But, before God rescued him, Moses was a murderer and a coward, hiding in the desert for forty years. Or David, an adulterer, murderer, and liar, pretending he was God's man until confronted with his sin. Or Paul, a self-proclaimed murderer and persecutor of the church. Paul never got over the reality of his sin and the forgiveness of his God.
Of course, women were no strangers to the sin game. How about the woman caught in adultery, the demon possessed Mary Magdalene, the bitter Naomi? I love that the Word of God spares none of the ugly details in telling us about His people. By far, though, my favorite sinner of all time just has to be Peter.
Here was Peter, one of the closest confidants of Jesus for three years; the first to declare that he knew Jesus was the Son of God; the one who walked on water with Jesus. But, then, we see Peter taking Jesus aside and REBUKING Him! How out of touch can you be?! Poor Peter! It's Peter that brings forth the stinging rebuke from Jesus: "Get behind me Satan!" It's Peter snoring away under the moonlight as Jesus sweats drops of blood a few feet away, on the night of the crucifixion. It's Peter jumping up out of his sleep and, full of his usual bravado, chops off the ear of the soldier. It's Peter, scared to death of being associated with Jesus, who denies he even knows this Jesus guy, not once but three times! It's Peter punctuating his words with swearing just to make sure everyone believes - he NEVER knew the man! It's Peter staring into the eyes of Jesus from across the courtyard, realizing the full weight of his sin.
It's Peter hiding in the Upper Room, afraid that he might meet the same fate as his friend, Jesus. It's Peter unable to forgive himself for his failure to follow Jesus, like he always said he would. It's Peter ashamed to look Jesus in the eye after the Resurrection.
It's Peter that Jesus sees hiding in the corner, buried in self-condemnation. It's Peter that Jesus reaches for and still loves, in spite of his sin. It's Peter, breaking under the weight of the love of His Redeemer that accepts His forgiveness. It's Peter who understands finally that he is a sinner in need of a Savior. It's the love of Christ that sets him free.
How about you? Do you ever find yourself hiding in the corner, ashamed of your sin? Do you ever struggle to forgive yourself? Do you believe that He loves you in spite of your sin? Is He calling your name? Has He set YOU free?!
Scripture Reference: "Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed." John 8:36