“He that has learned to feel his sins…has learned the two hardest and greatest lessons in Christianity.” (J.I. Packer)
We don’t like to talk about our sins. Even as those in Christ—where we know and believe all our sin has been forgiven—we still feel a sense of shame, of regret, of awkwardness when talking about our sin. But talking about sin is the only way forward to sanctification.
Christians needs to recover the art, so to speak, of being honest about sin. Not just sin in general, of course, but personal sin. The more we are honest, open and—in Packer’s words—“feel our sins,” the further we progress in holiness.
Three are three different ways we can do better at this.
Don’t Hide It
Trying to hide your sins—specifically from God—is like attempting to run away from your shadow. It’s not going to happen. Not only is it impossible to hide your sins from God, but it’s also foolish. And it only exacerbates the issue at hand—your sin.
As painful as it may be, confessing your sin is the best thing to do. This is part of “feeling our sins.” In order to truly understand the depth of our sins, we must not hide them, but confess them. Putting them out in the open, in full transparency, helps you become more like Jesus.
Don’t Rationalize It
The moment you begin to rationalize your sin is the moment sin has a foothold on you. But here’s the problem: there is no rationalizing sin. We can try giving excuses or saying it’s “not that bad”—the fact of the matter is this: it is that bad, because we’re sinning (ultimately) against God.
Sin is sin, at the end of the day. All sin sends you to Hell. And the last thing we ought to do is rationalize what can send us to Hell. Look at sin for what it truly is: rebellion against a holy God. Or, as RC Sproul was said, “Sin is cosmic treason.”
Sometimes it goes against every fiber of our being to be transparent about our sin. It’s easier to rationalize then to fully admit what we’ve done. But if we desire to obey Christ, we will be open and honest and admit that we are sinners.
Don’t Minimize It
The moment you minimize sin is the moment you minimize the holiness of God. Sin must be punished, and when we try to minimize it—as if it’s not that big of a deal—we consequently make light of God’s glory, holiness, and majesty.
Many people get put off by all this talk about sin. They want positive, feel good messages. Well, friends, let me say this. The best “feel-good” message is the gospel. And in order to faithfully preach the gospel, we must address sin.
So, we must not minimize it. Sin is big; it is heinous, ugly, and disgusting. And we’re the ones who do the sinning. What does that say about us? Praise be to God, though, that He saved us and wiped us clean!
Feel the Brunt and Remember Jesus
It’s hard to feel our sin. I get it. We’re human. I’m not saying to make yourself depressed or fall into the pit of despair. I’m asking you to take your sin seriously. Kill it before it kills you. Point it out. Leave no room for silly games or foolish antics. Suffocate your sin. Feel it’s brunt—but remember Jesus.
Remember Jesus took away all your sin—past, present, and future.
Remember Jesus bore all your sin—if you are in Christ, you no longer have a sin debt.
Feel your sin. Remember Jesus.
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