Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end? Romans 5:21 (MSG)
Talking About Sin – The Sin Series – Part 3
Why is it that we attach so much of our identity to our sins? We are consumed with avoiding sin, judging sin, “calling it out” in others (not our job, BTW).
I’d say it’s because we are so deeply aware of the effects of sin on our lives and the world. If I were to be honest with you, I’d say that it's not so much that we are aware of the apparent distance of God, but that we are consumed with our own pain. And vengeance for it.
The whole point of talking about sin is to expose to us the nature of grace. We all sin. It’s a factor. It always will be until whatever comes next, comes. It’s not sin that keeps us from God. It’s a lack of faith.
And not huge, demonstrative, prayer room, yelling at devils, and prophesying kind of faith (what even is that?!). But a faith that knows and lives in forgiveness. A faith that knows our identity is not solely tied to our “culpable disturbance of Shalom,” but is wrapped up in Christ.
A faith that dares to believe we belong, even when we sin.
Grace, peoples. Grace.
“All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end?” (Romans 5:20-21 MSG).
It’s not an excuse to sin all the more, but a reason to revel in the grace bestowed upon us. To humbly and boldly own our forgiveness. Which is difficult to do. Shame and even guilt would have us wallow in our wretchedness. To pay for what we’ve done, and to extract payment for what’s been done to us. One of the most difficult things for a human to do is accept forgiveness, and grant it.
It’s such a vulnerably humble moment, which is why we tend to shy away from it. It’s an incredibly strong thing, to be able to humble yourself enough to live into forgiveness, knowing that you’ll need it as a constant companion for the rest of your life.
Aggressive forgiveness. What does that look like?
It looks like us figuring it out as we go. Living into the truth, by faith and grace, that we are loved, restored, redeemed, reconciled, and renewed. And that others are, too. We do what we can to make amends with whoever we’ve sinned against, trusting that the only kind of sin there is, is forgiven sin. And we do what we can to forgive those who’ve sinned against us, because the only kind of sin there is…
That’s not to say that forgiveness is easy.
In the middle of it all, God is here, among us, in our seemingly sinful state, to show us that it's not our sins that are fracturing the world so deeply, but our inability and lack of faith to live into all the nooks and crannies and winding rivers and streams and brooks of forgiveness.
It's that simple.
It's that complicated.
“Sin and grace, absence and presence, tragedy and comedy, they divide the world between them and where they meet head on, the Gospel happens.” (1.)
Written by Liz Milani
1). Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale.