Reconciling with the Fact of Sin

This morning’s reading (June 24) in Oswald Chamber’s classic daily devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, was so very insightful.  Here is an excerpt from that reading:

“This is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:53

It is not being reconciled to the fact of sin that produces all the disasters in life. You may talk about the nobility of human nature, but there is something in human nature which will laugh in the face of every ideal you have. If you refuse to agree with the fact that there is vice and self-seeking, something downright spiteful and wrong in human beings, instead of reconciling yourself to it, when it strikes your life, you will compromise with it and say it is of no use to battle against it. Have you made allowance for this hour and the power of darkness, or do you take a recognition of yourself that misses out sin?…

Jesus Christ never trusted human nature, yet He was never cynical, never suspicious, because He trusted absolutely in what He could do for human nature….

Probably the single greatest source of frustration in our lives (which often leads to emotional burn-out) is unrealistic expectations. Jesus never succumbed to unrealistic expectations.  He “knew what was in a man.”  He even knew which disciple would betray Him from the beginning.  He knew Peter would deny Him well before it happened.  Jesus was not surprised by the corruption of human nature.  But neither was He intimidated or depressed by it!  He knew what He could do within a person, when given greater access and control.

Surely you’ve realized that you are still capable of very carnal behavior?  If we operate our lives outside of Christ’s control and the power of His Spirit, we all can still act in very corrupt ways.  This will be true until we receive our new bodies in the resurrection.  The people we love and trust are also still capable of doing stupid things.  This is not a capitulation to sin’s domination, but rather a very biblical outlook that realizes that sin is a constant force to be reckoned with this side of Christ’s return.

Are you disappointed in someone?  Have you succumbed to disillusionment because of a moral failure in someone (perhaps even yourself)?  It’s time to get over it and get on with living in the reality of the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  Christ’s death on the cross shows us how real and how ugly sin was and still is.  But His resurrection shows us that there is life after sin and death.  Never give up hope in the triumphant life of Christ in breaking through, even where sin’s hour and power have been recently evident. Don’t trust in human nature, trust in God’s redemption.  Don’t look to human goodness, look to the virtue of Christ’s life overcoming human fallenness and brokenness…again and again.

One thought on “Reconciling with the Fact of Sin

  1. Brandon says:

    There are unrealistic expectations, and there are reasonable expectations. Do you think, Dane, that we have a right to reasonably expect better of a people claiming to speak on behalf of Christ and, what’s more, to be very living expressions of him, as though they were “living letters” available for the perusal of all? Is it not this reasonable expectation and its disappointment which account for the vehemence of Paul’s rebukes in letters such as 2 Corinthians (10-13) and Galatians? Or are those simply the flagrant displays of Paul’s overabundant personality? I cannot find any unshakable grounds for establishing what is “realistic” and “unrealistic” to expect of people within human culture. There is no final recourse to sociology, psychology, economics, ethics or politics for this. Taking the Bible as my standard, however, I read commandments–many of them rather plain–that assume their fulfillment. Nor do I forget the necessity of grace. If Augustine is right, God grants what he requires. Our expectations–our entirely reasonable expectations–ultimately are placed upon God. For the failing Christian or Christian community, is it not to God that we finally appeal for the redress of grievances? Does not judgment begin, as Timothy says, in God’s own household? Well aware of the lesson on specks and planks, I would find it easier to believe in (i.e., trust) a God whose people really are better, truly better, than everyone else. The recent book UnChristian, put out by the Barna Group, shows sobering statistics that evangelical Christians really aren’t different from their secular counterparts. I will not take the Mormon or some similar tack and posit some “apostasy” in these groups. Like Thomas, I want to see the Risen Jesus. But I want to see it in his people. Hebrews says, as you well know, that Jesus was like us in all points as we are, yet without sin. You seem to be saying that Jesus knew what we were like in all points, yet without cynicism. That may be (though I think other gospels would show he might have been more disappointed in them than you state here: e.g., his sorrow–his diappointment–at seeing Peter, James and John fall asleep in Gethsemane). My disappointment in people, in some Christians (including me, sure), is that God has done, so far as I can tell, so very little about it. Where are his rebukes? His proddings? His miraculous interventions assuring us of his providential presence? Worse than being cynical about humanity, I can tell you, is being cynical about God. ______________________________________________________________________ Thanks for the input, Brandon. Your last two sentences almost summarize my point exactly:    Worse than being cynical about humanity, I can tell you, is being cynical about God. I couldn’t agree with you more.  My intention in the post was not to excuse sin in any way.  It was to point people to the real answer for sin.  I am not cynical of humanity or God, my friend!!!  I am not cynical.  I got over the delusion that man is basically good.  I got over the delusion that I am basically good.  And I have deeply learned by serious study of the Scriptures and from almost three decades of walking with Christ, that God is good all the time.  I am deeply happy and content (most of the time!)  I am not disillusioned with man or God.  I have seen so many people become new creations in Christ and I see evidence of ongoing sanctification every day. My hope is no longer in man but in God.  It’s obvious you have some deep disappointment with Christians and the church – and it appears, with God.   I would say that as I look out over the family of God that I am in community with here, that I daily see grand evidence of God’s goodness and of a people who are very much different than the world around them.  And that’s not an exaggeration.  I also see people who still struggle and sometimes stumble and even make some big messes from time to time…including myself.  But this doesn’t overwhelm me.  It simply reaffirms my conviction that if left to ourselves, we will all quickly prove the doctrine of total depravity.  Fortunately, God has not left us to ourselves but has sent His Son into the world and now His Spirit, to save us and impart His life to us. Elijah got depressed and suicidal when he was unable to see that there was still a godly remnant in the earth.  He felt all alone and that he was the only one really standing for God.  And he became bitter at God’s people, because of all the compromise he saw in them.  Though he apparently overcame his depression, I don’t think he ever fully recovered from the damage he incurred when he took his eyes off of God and placed them on himself and on the people around him. Your comments reminded me of Elijah’s struggle.  If you are in the cave with Elijah, despairing and disillusioned with life and with God’s people, I pray that you will hear God’s “still small voice” again and that you will come forth in newness of life.

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