Finding Hope Amidst Your Sin

Peter said to him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Jesus answered, ‘Will you say down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.’ (John 13:37-38)

The account of Peter’s declaration of his willingness to die for his Lord is one that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Peter has good intentions that the Lord sees straight through. Jesus knows Peter’s desires, but he also knows his weaknesses. He knows the sins of denial that Peter is about to commit.

We like to make bold claims for our Lord. But often, our eyes are bigger than our stomach. We believe we are much more capable than we actually are many times. We downplay our capacity for sin and we bank our stalwart abilities to do what’s right. We look at ourselves and think “Pshh, I could do that.” In other words, too often we are woefully self-dependent.

This story has the piercing ability to cut through self-sufficiency and self-reliance and bring us to our knees before the cross. Here are three reflections on the little story:

1. God already knows when we will sin, and what the sin will be. It is clear to him. And Jesus doesn’t forsake us because of it– his love for us doesn’t change–he still goes to the cross. O what a savior!

2. God is not dependent on our obedience to accomplish his purposes— in fact, our failures can be used for good. For example– in the Luke account of the story Jesus said to Peter, “And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (22:32). His ability to strengthen the brothers came after he was broken. It is good to get broken now and again.

3. Good intentions, commitments, or aspirations to obedience don’t mean anything. The obedience that matters is the obedience you incarnate– not the kind you hypothetically will do if such-and-such happens.

“When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see him there, who made an end to all my sin.” Hope in the gospel, even when your adversary the devil tells you otherwise.

Are You the Worst Sinner You Know?

Here’s James MacDonald and C.J. Mahaney talking about sin. C.J. Mahaney really believes that he is the worst sinner he knows.

My first reaction is “Come on CJ, really?”

I definitely identify more with James MacDonald than CJ, but I want to get some feedback on this one. It’s interesting.

Andy Smith wrote a helpful blog concerning the same issues here.

What do you think?

Kill or Be Killed: 1/3/10

Here’s a synopsis of my sermon last Sunday, titled “Kill or Be Killed.”  I included some of the verses I referenced in my points.

1. A Hard Look at Sin: Answers to 5 crucial questions about sin

What is sin? 1 Peter 1:16, Jeremiah 2:12-13, Romans 1:25

Where does sin come from? Psalm 37:4, James 1:14, 2 Peter 1:9

Why is sin so appealing? Romans 8:5

Why is sin so offensive to God?

Why do we need to kill it? 1 John 3:9, John 8:34

Conclusions:

Sin happens when we are not satisfied with God and we turn from him to other things, called idols, and try to use them to satisfy our desires.

Salvation, then, is not a mere decision to believe a fact; it is a work of God that opens your heart to treasure all that God is for us in Jesus above all else.

2. Asceticism: Kill Sin the Wrong Way (Colossians 2:23)

3. Killing Sin the Right WayBy the Spirit (Romans 8:13) What does by the Spirit mean?

a. Romans 8:5– those who live by the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

b. 1 Corinthians 2:13–  the things of the Spirit are the words of the apostles, contained in the New Testament letters, in which Jesus affirms the Old Testament as inspired.

c. Ephesians 6:17– the word of God is the sword of the Spirit. The only offensive weapon mentioned in the “Armor of God’ chapter.

4. How Does the Word of God Kill Sin?

a. Galatians 3:5– the Spirit of God does miracles in people’s lives when they hear with faith.

b. Hear what with faith? The promises of God. 2 Peter 1:3-4–the promises of God enable us to participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world.

5. The Practical Use of This Truth

a. Verse memorization to fight sin.