This pastoral passage was first written for LRBC on September 18 2016.
Continued sensitivity to sin is a sign of spiritual health. As we grow closer to God and become more like Christ we develop an aversion to sin that will have us grow more and more sensitive to sin in our own lives. Attitudes, actions, habits and amusements become regarded in the light of not our own judgements, but of God’s holiness. Things we once condoned or tolerated become distasteful to us.
Although excessive brooding over one’s own sinfulness can be a sign of a melancholy temperament, it should be remembered that our NZ culture doesn’t gravitate towards this. In our day and age, we are not likely to overdo it. We are more prone to casualness, or to skirting quickly past thoughts of sinfulness to consider the love of God for us. But a seriousness about sinfulness is important. It carves out a space in us that can be filled with grace. The greater regard we have for sin, the greater appreciation we can have for the grace of God. A sense of sorrow over sin is a blessing, albeit a painful one.
Do these words ring true for you? Have you grown more, or less concerned about sin in your own life? Remember that God is not necessarily impressed with those who do great things for him, but rather with those who are humble, and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at his word (Isaiah 66:1-2). Let contrition sink deep in you. Yet do not wallow in it (that was Esau’s mistake – Hebrews 12:17). Instead let it be a means to an end; of bringing you to renewed sense of mercy and joy and salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10). That is the way to attaining a higher standard of holiness, and a fuller experience of the Christian life.