Monday, January 12, 2009

18 words: world and sin

The World:

When I saw the two words 'world' and 'sin' next to each other I immediately assumed that the majority of the 'world' chapter would focus on the idea of flesh, worldly desires and the wickedness of living a carnal lifestyle. Then, in the first page, Packer hits me with this statement "In our thoughts of the world, man is always at the centre." Yikes. He had me pinned.

He goes on to talk about the awesome creation that is the world (and the universe.) One of the most challenging parts for me was when he talked about renouncing things of this world: money, career, business, sport, marriage, home, etc... he said that we must remember that "what is given up in such cases is something good, not something evil."

He continues this thought later by stating "Whether a man is worldly thus depends, not on how much enjoyment he takes from the good and pleasant things of this life, but on the spirit in which he takes it."

The latter half of the chapter then talks about the effects of sin on the beautiful world and how Christ has come to redeem it in every way. As Christians, this will be a day of rejoicing, when the world will be as it was and should be; a world without sin and death, pain and suffering, a world that is beautiful and awesome and magnifies God in every way.


Packer rightly states that "our first need in life is to learn about sin..." If we don't know the state we are in and the consequences of it, the good news of Christ will seem overdone and un-needed. But if we know what sin is in our lives, it will come as the greatest news we could ever possibly hear.

My friend, Alex Costa, recently gave a mini-seminar on the holiness of God and then blogged a few notes about the idea. And, in this chapter on sin, it is pointed out that sin must start with an understanding of God's holiness. His complete perfection, magnificence, terribleness and holiness. We must know God as God before we can know ourselves as sinners.

(As an encouragement on getting to know our Holy God, I encourage you to read and meditate on Isaiah 6. Think of the awesome terror that fell on Isaiah as he entered into the temple of heaven and the fiery seraph voices shook the temple entrance. God created those amazing creatures and Isaiah fears this God and cries "Woe is ME!" God's holiness demands an awareness of sin.)

Something else that will help in understanding our sin, because we are quick to justify ourselves as "not that bad" in comparison with others, "man is not depraved and sinful "in the sense that everything in man is as bad as it could be, but that nothing in man is as good as it should be." This comes through an awareness of who God is and what he demands. When we look at ourselves in light of perfection then we realize that nothing we have ever done can stand up to that scrutinizing test.

And so, through the knowledge of the Holy God comes the knowledge of sin. With this knowledge comes a fear of retribution. And so, now, the grace of God through the death of His Son becomes eternally good news. Hebrews 9 and 10 now stand as great testimonies to the love of God.

So, be aware of your sin and repent today. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.


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