Everyone who bumps into Jesus has to decide whether or not they need Him in their life. Whether a search for truth or life or forgiveness or hope led us to Him, or we found ourselves presented with the life and work of Jesus by a friend or stranger, there is a basic evaluation we run through to decide how far we are willing to hear or receive this Jesus. But the admission of sin requires us to overcome complications which tend to stop us in our tracks.
There is a basic yes or no to get us started. Yes, we want to hear more about Jesus and weigh the options further. Or, No, we are not interested. It doesn’t matter what anyone is offering for hearing the rest of the story, it just isn’t for us.
Chances are you are in the first camp. You’re into the third paragraph of an article with Jesus in the title. At some point you decided Jesus was worth your time. Thank you for opening your life to Jesus. But those of us who made it this far shouldn’t be overly proud of our progress. We are really just passing the starting line, and we have to face what may be the most difficult reality of our existence.
Followers and Critics
The New Testament tells how thousands were willing to sit and listen to Jesus for days without food. Once they lined the streets of the city to celebrate Him. Less than a week later they were finished with Him, watching His broken body carry a cross out of the same city to die.
There were also many who would not listen to or follow this miracle-working preacher from a small town. Reasons for their rejection included disputing Who Jesus claimed to be and unbelief in the works He claimed able to do.
One thing those critics and followers of Jesus would have agreed on, though, is something that keeps many in our time from making it very far down the journey with Him. The Jews understood the concept of sin and the need for atonement.
Today there would be the same crowds gathered round to hear the authoritative teaching of Jesus. He was radical, willing to stand toe-to-toe with the establishment, and made truth applicable and relatable. Regardless of those who turn away at the first mention of His name there is still a significant amount of people willing to cross the starting line.
Until Jesus points to a three-letter word: sin.
The idea of sin is often the line in the sand where people decide they are no longer interested in Jesus’ ideas or actions. As long as He is a teacher, a miracle worker, a celebrity and willing to join their cause, they are right there at His side. But if He starts to talk about sin they are gone.
The Point of it All
The irony is that sin is the reason Jesus had to come. If we were all good at heart, could working things out on our own, and could stride into eternity with confidence God would welcome and accept us, the birth of Jesus wouldn’t be necessary.
Scripture plainly tells us the opposite.
All of us have become like one who is unclean,Isaiah 64:6, NIV
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
As it is written:Romans 3:10-12, NIV
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.Genesis 6:5, NLT
Too many refuse to accept the problem of sin in our lives. We cannot truly be evil inside. There is no such thing as original sin. If we aren’t hurting anyone we must be okay.
If we cannot face the reality of sin we will not never truly be right with God. Jesus is the door to salvation and everlasting life, and crossing that threshold requires dealing with sin.
Admitting sin and its ramifications on our lives is a huge leap. It involves several factors we can trip over. Here are 6 Complications to admitting our sinfulness:
- Submission. We admit there is Someone greater than ourselves to whom we must answer. The authority over right and wrong belongs to Someone else and not to our feelings or goals.
- Standard. There is a universal law that is always true regardless of how we feel or understand. This standard is the same regardless of time, geography, race, beliefs, or situation. Either we meet the requirement or we fail.
- Shortfall. We have failed, every one of us, from the first moment of our existence. Even if we make every effort to be and do good, it is never enough. We will always come up short of what is required.
- Responsibility. Regardless of our results or intentions, whatever does not meet the standard is held against us. Each individual is fully and solely responsible for every words, deeds and thought which qualifies as sin.
- Corruption. The sinful state is inherited as well as earned. From the moment we exist we are full of sin. There is no escaping the stain it leaves on our lives.
- Judgment. Our shortcomings and corruption led to a final verdict before we have a chance to speak. There is no excuse or defense to make the charges disappear or reduce our sentence.
Don’t forget, it breaks the very heart of God to see this judgment stamped on our lives. He would prefer no one have to be lost and condemned. This is why He offered the only begotten Son of Heaven, a portion of the Three-in-One, to pay the price for our salvation.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:6-8, ESV
The sin problem isn’t just a theological construct for thinkers to spend their time researching, pondering, and trying to figure out. It is relevant to more lives than monks on a hilltop or hermits in a cave. Sin is pervasive and it is real.
Every one of us is stained by sin. Until we admit sin is in our individual life we will continue to live with it. There is no shaking it off and no effort able to wash it away.
Although you wash yourself with cleanser and use much soap, I can still see the stain of your guilt,” says the Lord God.Jeremiah 2:22, NCV
The only cure for sin is Jesus.
If we do not have sin, we don’t need Jesus. But to those who are able to push beyond the obstacles and admit the problem of sin, Jesus stands ready not only to forgive, but to clean away the stain and make us new in Him.