Lent is a time for reflection. A time for us to remember why Jesus had to die on the cross. There are churches where they do not talk about sin; it makes people feel bad about themselves. It is an unpleasant topic. And so they preach about “feel good” topics instead and the people leave the church feeling good about themselves and about the message.
The church I attend practices confession and absolution every Sunday. We confess our sins together corporately and there is usually a time for silence when we can reflect upon our sins. When I was growing up we would say: Oh almighty God, merciful Father, I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess unto Thee all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended Thee and justly deserve Thy temporal and eternal punishment. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them, and I pray Thee for Thy boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter suffering and death of Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be merciful to me a poor sinful being. After the confession the Pastor announces our forgiveness through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We had a church member leave our congregation because she did not like to say she was a poor miserable sinner. She didn’t think she fit into that category. Now, I am going to say something and for some of you it may sound weird. I find comfort in knowing that I am a poor miserable sinner. No, I am not happy that I am a sinful being. But it is an explanation as to why I fall short, every moment of every day. I am a poor sinful being and I will mess up every day of my life. I will sin knowingly and unknowingly. I will try so hard not to sin and I will fail. I don’t have any grand elusions about myself and when I do it never works out the way I envision it will.
It is a lie straight from the pit of hell to tell someone that when you are a Christian you will not have problems with sin anymore. If that statement is true (which it is not) what would we need Jesus for? If something we can do on our own could save us…why would we need a Savior? There are so many people out there who are miserable because they cannot live the perfect life, no matter how hard they try, they fail. I KNOW I’m not perfect. God knows I’m not perfect. God knows that I could not save myself, no matter how much I wanted too. I do not need to save myself; Jesus saved me when He died for my sins. We should not treat sin lightly. I am not proud that I am a poor miserable sinner. But I find great comfort in knowing that God knows exactly how miserable I am and loves me anyways. I find solace in the knowledge, the blood of Jesus has redeemed me and because of Him I stand forgiven.
I love Psalm 139 and I would like to share it with you in two ways. One is right from scripture and the other is through a song. May you take the time to reflect upon the words. I know it is painful when we realize our sinfulness but it is not the end of the story. Jesus has paid the price for you and for me. We are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.
1O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
5You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,"
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
19Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain!
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?