10/24/15

holy, holy, holy



"Against you, you only, have I sinned..." Psalm 51:4

There are some sins in my life that I seem to be in constant battle with. I pray for relief and mercy, I fight against the tendencies and actions, I quickly confess when I give in to the temptation. 

I remember last year when the Holy Spirit revealed the big, ugly mass of bitterness that was stored up in my heart. It was a burning rage that seemed hidden until I came to terms with what it was. And once I did I began fighting against that sucker like a mad woman. I hated the bitterness. I prayed against the bitterness. I employed tactics and fought for discipline and self-control in destroying the bitterness.

But then I lay in bed for hours watching Parks and Rec while schoolwork waits to be completed, the dishes need to be done, Scripture lies on my nightstand, my lonely friend waits at her house alone. I don't fight this laziness, this lack of responsibility, this self-centeredness. Why? Because I'm comfortable. I don't feel the deep ramifications of this sin so I don't fight it.

When it came to the bitterness I knew the effect it was having on both me and others. I felt weighed down. I wasn't fun to be around. I was critical and burdened. Friends felt uncomfortable around me because I was so absorbed in the bitterness.

But my laziness is just fine. No one knows, no one seems to be effected, so no need to worry about it.

John Piper says this about sin and the way we often think about it: "What makes sin sin is its Godwardness. That's why the world doesn't understand how serious hell is, because they don't understand how serious sin is. And they don't understand how serious sin is because the only way the world thinks about sin is in terms of 'You hurt me and I hurt you, and that shouldn't be.' And that's true: we shouldn't hurt each other. But they don't even bring God into the picture, and that's where sin becomes sin."

Am I more worried about how sin is affecting me and others than about my sin's assault on the authority of God?

W.S. Plummer says this: "We never see sin aright until we see it as against God... All sin is against God in this sense: that it is His law that is broken, His authority that is despised, His government that is set naught... Pharaoh and Balaam, Saul and Judas each said, 'I have sinned'; but the returning prodigal said, 'I have sinned against heaven and before thee.'"

"Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?"
-Exodus 15:11

God is perfect and consistent in all his ways. Reflect on that for a moment. My imperfection is evident. Even more so, as I grow and mature in the LORD, as I learn to submit to my true Master and not my old master of sin, I still am terribly inconsistent. One day I am patient, loving, and dedicated to the Gospel. The next day I get irritated with a friend, don't think a single thought about God until I'm getting ready for bed, and fall into envy or laziness or apathy. Our Father, though, is forever consistent. He cannot stray from his way. He cannot not be perfect, holy, right, true. 

"God is light, and in him is no darkness at all..." 1 John 1:5

A Puritan prayer reads, "I have sinned; I am alien to thee." Our sinfulness is nothing of what the Father is like. We are inconsistent, he is consistent. We have false and hidden motives, he is pure and open in all he does. We are deceitful, he is true. We are irritable, he is patient. We are flaky, he is steadfast. We are apathetic, he is fiercely and jealously devoted to his glory. We are discontent, he is satisfying and satisfied. We are lacking, he is complete.

A self-centered view of sin proves how little our view of God is. When we see the glorious and terrifying holiness of God our sin is put in the proper place. We ask ourselves how we could turn to something else instead of our satisfying and beautiful Father. We mourn how offensive it is to live in a way that says God doesn't have the right to tell us what to do. We grieve our actions that prove we do not value our Maker.

John Piper explains that "Sin, by definition in the Bible, is not wronging another person. It is assaulting the glory of God, rebelling against God. Sin, by definition, is a vertical phenomenon." 

When we dwell in the holiness of God we begin to see sin for what it truly is:  an act of rebellion against our good and gracious God. 

"I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:  , 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!' And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said, 'Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a make of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, of the LORD of hosts!' Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the alter. And he touched my mouth and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.'" -Isaiah 6:1-7

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