Sorrow for Sin
“For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin.” (Psalms 38:18)
The psalms are filled with messages of sorrow for sin, such as the lament of David in Psalm 51, after his adultery with Bathsheba was exposed. However, it seems there is not much sorrow for sin today.
There have been times in the past in which great crowds came to hear preachers rail upon sin after sin. People were cut to the heart and would often come forward with tears of sorrow for their sin. Today, most church-goers don’t want to ever have their lifestyles addressed, their sin exposed, and their activities challenged, no matter how sinful they are.
Too often, we want to be cheered instead of challenged. We want to be humored instead of humbled. We want to be told to be glad instead of guilty. We want to raise our level of self-esteem instead of self-examination.
If the preacher preaches against sin, he is accused of being judgmental, critical, harsh, and hypocritical. (After all, people can look at him and say, “You’re not perfect, either!”) Here’s the thing: sin is a real problem. Ignoring sin does not make it go away. Sin is deadly. Sin is the opposite of holiness. Sin kills because it separates us from life in God. But there is a way to be freed from the clutches of sin through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
For one to come to Christ for forgiveness, that person must act upon his faith in obedience to Christ by being baptized for the forgiveness of sin. Baptism washes away all the sin of one’s past. Baptism is a resurrection to a new life, following a death to the old life. This is where repentance comes in. Without repentance, baptism is no more than a ritual and the only thing the sinner gets is “wet.” One who wants to have Christ’s forgiveness must acknowledge that he is a sinner and be truly sorry for his sins. He must renounce that sin with a commitment to live in a new lifestyle as a disciple of Jesus.
Having become disciples, we still sin. We slip back into our old ways. We make mistakes. The devil is tricky. He trips us up when we least expect it. When we sin, we must also show sorrow for sin (II Corinthians 7:9,10). Being united in the covenant with Christ through baptism, we seek forgiveness by repentance, by asking for forgiveness in prayer, and by recommitting ourselves to walking in the light with Jesus (Acts 8:22; I John 1:7-10).
Examine your heart today. Take any sin you find, every sinful act, every sinful word, and even every sinful thought, and confess them to the Heavenly Father. Grieve for your sin, instead of acting like it is no big deal. Seek God’s forgiveness, and set your heart on pleasing Him in every way. Then rejoice in the peace only He can give.