Amending the Offense of Sin
March 22, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
One of the most panic-ridden, infuriating moments of our parenting career was when one of our sons thought he should give our daughter a haircut. It was her first haircut. It was his first administration of a haircut. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out well.
There were (at least) three offenses from this ill-advised haircut that needed to be rectified. One, my cute two-year-old daughter had a not-so-cute hair style. Two, my loving, patient, easy-going wife was not so happy with our son. Three, my young and curious son needed proper scissor training. The first offense could only be fixed with time. It took over a year for her hair to grow out and become even with the rest of her hair. The second offense took a little more intentional effort to take care of. Trustworthiness with scissors was broken and needed to be rebuilt. My wife’s expectations for two-year-old daughter pictures needed to be tempered. The third area involved pressing the seriousness of the offense upon my son.
The first offense was against my daughter. The second offense was against my wife. My son’s ignorance (and deviousness) was the third offense.
The offense of sin is similar. At least three parties are always affected by our sin. The person we sin against. Our God who is offended by our rebellious disobedience against his ways. And our own selves, who are corrupted by the plague of sin. How can we rectify each of these offenses?
- The offense against another. We have the responsibility to admit our wrongdoing and to genuinely express sorrow over the harm we cause. And then, where appropriate, we need to make repairs against the offense. This looks different whether the offense is merely physical in nature versus emotional.
With that said, it is only by the gospel of grace that offenses between two people can be rectified. The gospel must work on the heart of the offender to genuinely humble him and bring him to truly repent. The gospel must work on the offended to mend his heart in order to forgive the offense. The gospel must provide the strength to bring together the offender and offended.
- The offense against God. The resounding message of Scripture is that we can do nothing to rectify the offense of our sin against God. We are guilty and condemned and without hope… on our own. Enter Jesus. He does what we could never do… “He had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Heb 2:17). Propitiation is the important word that speaks about rectifying the offense against God. To propitiate sin means to satisfy God’s just wrath against sin, removing it completely from the offender. Cling to Jesus as your propitiator.
- The offense against ourselves. We might be deceived into thinking that sin has no real affect on us, but nothing can be further from the truth. Sin blinds our minds (and spiritual eyes) from the goodness and sufficiency of Christ. Sin dulls our hearts from enjoying all the God has for us in Christ. Sin undermines and erodes any sense of peace or security or stability we long for in our lives. When we sin we need to rectify the offense it causes to us. “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:24).
As Paul responds to this desperate situation, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v. 25). Only Jesus can heal the offense of sin against ourselves. John affirms this when he says, “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin,” and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:7, 9). The important word for this is expiation. To expiate sin, Jesus cleanses our hearts and souls and minds from the corrupting affects of sin. Cling to Jesus as your expiator.
Of course, at the center of this work is the cross of Jesus. As we reflect on the death of Christ this Easter season, keep in mind the three offenses of sin and how Jesus works to rectify those offenses. May you know and experience more and more the liberation from the power of sin offered in Christ.