“The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)
It might seem odd, in the early stages of a devotional series about identity, to have a focus on sin. It doesn’t really seem encouraging or uplifting, does it?
It’s not meant to be.
Sin is a reality.
Sin is hurtful.
Sin is bad.
We are sinful.
You are sinful.
The bible speaks about sin in a number of ways. It is called ugly, shameful, guilt-giving, people-hurting, relationship-destroying, heart-wrenching, gut-twisting awful.
Sin is something which can be done by a person, but first and foremost it is a state of being.
It is a reality.
The reality is that our hearts are naturally inclined to sin. Sin isn’t just what we do that is bad, or immoral, or hurtful, it is more than that. It is a heart position. It is the state of our heart that means we are utterly against God in everything we do.
Even if it looks good.
The bible speaks of our heart as being against God and His goodness. Our hearts, from birth, are defective. They are selfish.
So, often we will operate out of a place of self-interest. We will make decisions and act in ways that will be for our good before anyone else’s. We place ourselves as king or queen of our own lives, neglecting others, and particularly God.
Often this plays out in action. When we think of a school assessment we might want to short circuit hard work and steal the answers off the person next to us. When we are filled with lustful thoughts of that person down the corridor. When we think poorly of a person in our team. When we joke amongst friends about the loner sitting in the playground during lunch. When we do something that hurts someone else. All this is the outworking of our sinful heart.
We are always wanting the next best and greatest thing for ourselves, no matter the cost. Whether it costs us friends, relationships, family, or even be harmful for ourselves, our hearts chase after sinful things and drive us toward sinful action.
Because God is supremely good and holy everything He does is good and holy. And because we are not we find ourselves in a bit of trouble.
There is a problem.
The state of our hearts, our bodies, and this world is not entirely good or holy. Therefore, God wants nothing to do with those things that are sinful, things that are against his holiness and goodness.
The focus on ourselves brings us to the point where we think nothing of believing that we rule the world on our own. Instead of acknowledging God as the true and right ruler of this world we have bought into the lie that tells us we are the centre of this world.
We are living in a world that tells us we can have satisfaction and joy if only we are true to ourselves.
We are told we can have everything if only we can put in the hard work.
We are told that at the end of the day, if we have looked after our self and put ourselves first we will find some form of wholeness.
The culture we absorb from a young age spills over into our thinking and is something we find completely natural. What is unnatural, it seems, is to realise that there are greater things going on in the world. That God is actually the right and true ruler of this world, and when we place him at the centre of it all then we will find that satisfaction and joy we desire.
The putting of self at the centre is just another form of our sinful heart leading us away from God.
And because we operate out of a sinful heart we find we are separated from God.
Because of his goodness and holiness God can’t have anything to do with sin. And because he can’t have anything to do with sin this means he can’t have anything to do with us. We are a bitter taste on the tongue of God.
This means our relationship with God is non-existent. Our relationship with God is broken. There is a large fjord between God and us, and no matter how hard we try to reach him and know him we can’t.
The divide is too wide.
Our sinful nature leaves us apart from God. It leaves us lonely, self-absorbed, and heavenly homeless.
- How does understanding our sinful nature help us understand our position in life?
- What sort of feelings rise up in you as you read what has been said?
- Do you know what brings this separation with God back to wholeness?
This is part of a devotional series called You’re More Than A Number. To understand the purpose of these posts then please read the series introduction. If you’d like these delivered to your inbox, please sign up to follow this blog or my FB page.
Day 1 – You Are Created