Sin and Willful Delusion

Sin is a word little heard these days.  Surprisingly, even in churches, the word and fact of sin is rarely mentioned.  When wrongdoing is discussed it is typically softened and the consequences, both in the here and now as well as those of an eternal nature, are not portrayed in anything approaching a serious tone.  It has not always been so.  For example, A.W. Tozer, had no hesitancy in speaking the truth about sin.  RMF

A. W. Tozer

Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Wrong Judgment
by A.W. Tozer

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.—Galatians 6:7

Sin, in addition to anything else it may be, is always an act of wrong judgment. To commit a sin a man must for the moment believe that things are different from what they really are; he must confound values; he must see the moral universe out of focus; he must accept a lie as truth and see truth as a lie; he must ignore the signs on the highway and drive with his eyes shut; he must act as if he had no soul, and was not accountable for his moral choices.

Sin is never a thing to be proud of. No act is wise that ignores remote consequences, and sin always does. Sin sees only today, or at most tomorrow; never the day after tomorrow, next month or next year. Death and judgment are pushed aside as if they did not exist and the sinner becomes for the time a practical atheist who by his act denies not only the existence of God but the concept of life after death….

The notion that the careless sinner is the smart fellow and the serious-minded Christian, though well-intentioned, is a stupid dolt altogether out of touch with life will not stand up under scrutiny. Sin is basically an act of moral folly, and the greater the folly the greater the fool.  A. W. Tozer

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah knew well man’s wayward nature.  He wrote:

O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself;
It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.
O Lord, correct me, but with justice;
Not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing (Jer. 10:23-24)

Or, as the Message puts it:

I know, God, that mere mortals
can’t run their own lives,
That men and women
don’t have what it takes to take charge of life.
So correct us, God, as You see best.
Don’t lose your temper. That would be the end of us. (Jer 10:23-24 Msg.)

These are NOT happy thoughts. But necessary ones, nevertheless. If there are not moments of intense sorrow over one’s wayward and sometimes evil nature, solemn moments of contrition and repentance, then all other aspects of  Christian faith that may be brighter lose their meaning. Dark brings out the brightness of light – by contrast.

We must let God be the judge. We must let the Holy Spirit search us so that we feel the heat of God’s holy anger against the sin which we’ve allowed to dwell comfortably and uncontested in our innermost being.  We downplay the reality of God’s wrath at our peril.

  “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness.” (Rom. 1:18)

 A clear view of the spiritual wickedness of our hearts and of the spiritual demands of God’s laws, should force us to cry out with the Apostle Paul:

 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  (Romans 7:24)

We must sink from a poor something into a vile nothing.  In that way we make room for the Savior to do His work.  We become nothing that He may be all.  We must replace our complacence with a righteous fear.  We must recognize the sin and abhor it.

But, having recognized and come to terms with our sin, we are not to wallow in guilt and spiritual defeat. Still, there must be an honesty of soul. Our sins are a grief and an offense to God and must also be similarly distasteful to us.  As our hearts become more washed we become more aware of its remaining defilement. 

According to John Berridge: “The more wicked men grow, the less ashamed they are of themselves; and the more holy men grow, the more they learn to abhor themselves.” Praise be to God that there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1) And, because of God’s love, we can set our hearts at rest, when our hearts condemn us (1 John 3: 19-20).   RMF

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About ronfurg

Former naval officer, federal investigator, forensic scientist, senior executive service member and pastor. In retirement serves as volunteer and life group leader at New Life Christian Church (www.newlife4me.com). Devoted to beautiful wife, kids and grandkids. Looking forward to the time when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
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