“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things. No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil. . .Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like dead. We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away. Isaiah 59: 1-11
This passage from Isaiah 59 is a lot longer, but I have shortened it here. It always reminds me that we do not nearly appreciate the power and ugliness of sin. We have little respect for what it is and what it does. The more we think little of it, the worse we immerse ourselves in it. Heaven will be a shock for even the most holy when all get a full picture of sin. Were we to here and now appreciate more fully the death spiral it creates for those who dwell in it, we would flee more consistently and urgently to its remedy. We would recognize more readily the desperate need of His mercies EVERY morning in each of our lives.
This week I went to visit my father who was sick. He lives in an assisted living facility. I was careful not to get too close to him. Soon after leaving him, I found out that the entire building with its dining hall was now to be shut down. Residents were to remain in their apartments and no visitors would be allowed to come. Fortunately, my father’s fever and sore throat was more palatable for him to bear than the GI tract infection that hit all the other residents. It was the worst of the two that I picked up by germs in the air merely by stepping into the facility. The next morning, the day I was to have long scheduled surgery performed, I was as sick as a dog (another idiom we frequently employ). I was literally sick to death. And I was reminded in this death-like illness that what some germs do to you physically, sin will do to you spiritually, and Isaiah the Prophet verifies it. I was so sick that at times death was almost more desirable. And yes I moaned out loud from the nauseating and physical pain as the above passage says in regard to sin.
One of the effects of sin spiritually is to blind you to its presence in your life, that is, until it’s terrible consequences descend on you as suddenly as if you were waking from a dream. The death and destruction spread in your sin’s path is more often irreversible than not, even though you yourself may be saved like a brand plucked from the fire. But the chances of that are slim when you still have no acknowledgment of your own culpability. People in this predicament, even when they do not believe in God, blame Him and cry out why He caused this to happen; they don’t deserve this, or so they ignorantly claim. Whether they accept it or not, they are without excuse; their own consciences condemn them.
As basic as the knowledge of sin is to many Christians, it is the very snare that besets all of our lives from the most noteworthy Christians to the least. Sin is indiscriminate. It does not avoid any Christian. One of the worst subtleties of sin is your proclivity to compare yourself with others. The Apostle Paul calls this foolishness. Rather, compare yourself to Christ. And to do that you have to know Him. Therein lays your remedy. But like many medicines or supplements you need to take every day to realize any benefit, you require a daily dose of Christ and His mercy to overcome the power, shrewdness, and ugliness of sin and Satan!
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