Nuisance Snow . . . Nuisance Sin?

Last evening after seeing the weather forecast calling for one or two inches of snow today, I turned to my wife and said, "I feel like I'm back in Pittsburgh!" I spent five winters in the Steel City in the mid to late eighties. Rarely in Pittsburgh did we see the monster east coast sort of storms that dump snow measured in feet vs. inches. Instead, we saw an awful lot of these so called "nuisance" snows. Snowfalls that did not keep you from your regular routine but yet required some sweeping or scraping or sometimes shoveling the driveway and sidewalk. Well ... in just a little over a week, we have seen four nuisance type snows here in Lancaster (a couple were a bit more than a nuisance ... but they still were not big snowstorms). That's why I feel like I am experiencing a typical Pittsburgh winter.

Sometimes I think we look at sin in the same way we look at these recent snowfalls. A nuisance. And just as this morning I took a few minutes and brushed the snow off of my porch and driveway and then moved on with my day, so we deal with sin in much the same way. When we become aware of sin in our lives (and for many of us that "when" is much too big!), we simply offer up a quick prayer, brush ourselves off, and get on with life. Now don't get me wrong. The Bible is clear that when we confess our sin, God is quick to forgive and to cleanse (1 John 1:9). But my question is .... when we "confess" are we really confessing?

The Greek word translated "confess" in 1 John 1:9 is a word that literally means "to say the same thing about." Therefore, confession of sin is to say the same thing about sin as God does. And just what does God say about sin? For starters, God hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19; Jeremiah 6:18). God is of such holiness (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8) that he cannot tolerate sin and evil. In the divine economy sin must be punished and done so decisively. Secondly, sin is always first and foremost an offense against God. This can be seen in King David's sin of adultery with Bathsheba. Not only did David sin against this woman, but also her husband, Urriah. David not only took Urriah's wife, he eventually was guilty of taking Urriah's life. Yet the first words out of David's mouth were "I have sinned against the Lord" (2 Samuel 12:13; compare with Psalm 51:4 which David wrote after  his sin with Bathsheba). Finally, to understand just how grievous sin is to God, all one has to do is to look at the cross. If Jesus had to endure the horrific suffering he experienced at Calvary in order to satisfy God's wrath against our sin, there can be no doubt. Sin is far more than a nuisance. And we had better stop treating it as such! Only seeing sin as God does will help us to do just that!

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