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Personal Responsibility For Sin

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
– Psalm 51:1-4

David did not seek to avoid the fact that he had sinned against God.  He clearly took personal responsibility for his own sins in Psalm 51.  In fact, Psalm 51 says at the beginning that this psalm is “To the choirmaster.  A Psalm of David when Nathan the Prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.”  Do you understand what David is saying here?  He is asking that the choirmaster lead the entire Jews in singing about his sins.  He is wanting it shouted from the rooftops of Israel, “I HAVE SINNED!”

How vastly different from today’s culture where we blame everyone for their sins but the person who sinned.  An NFL player kills his girlfriend and then shoots himself and people blame the girlfriend.  In Connecticut, a man shoot his mother, kills 26 people at a school, shoots himself and then the media blames his mother for having guns.  People are being told that sin is not their fault.  It is someone else’s fault that we are the way that we are.  I have read books that seek to understand Hitler.  They explain that Hitler hated the Jews because of this reason or that.  They explain that his hatred begin while a young man or while in the World War I but they never admit that Hitler himself was just evil.  Our world wants to avoid labeling anyone with that term.  People are not born evil.  They are not born corrupt.  They are not evil at all but all people, or so we are being told, are basically good.  No personal responsibility for our own sins.

The fact is that we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3).  We are, by nature, children of wrath.  Unless we repent, we deserve the just wrath of God against us for our violation of His laws and for the justice demanded by His holiness (Leviticus 17:11).  We want to sidetrack the issue of our personal guilt but we are guilty before God (Romans 5:12).  None of us can escape God’s just wrath against our sins (Romans 3:23; cf. Ecclesiastes 7:20).  The fact is that none of us deserve the goodness of God.  We have earned His wrath (Romans 1:18-32).  We have shaken our fists in His face and demanded that He leave us alone (Romans 3:10-18).  We do not love God.  We hate Him.

Thankfully, God is rich in mercy just as David prayed above in Psalm 51.  David appealed to the steadfast love and abundant mercy of God.  That truly is what God is.  He is merciful.  No doubt He is just and He will repay sin (Romans 2:7-11) but He is also merciful as He has shown throughout the Scriptures and through the death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for our sins (John 3:14-18).  Romans 2:4 says that it is the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance.  When we see how we have violated His law, broken His commandments (1 John 3:4) and we deserve His wrath, it is there that we see the great love and mercy of God with the cross and we are humbled by His love.  I know that I deserve His wrath.  I know that I don’t deserve His love.  Yet I am equally amazed at His love.  I stand in awe of His love.  I stand in awe of His saving grace.  The Lord saved me completely by His own power and love (John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7) and I stand in awe of that act.

The truth is that forgiveness of sins does not come until we repent of our sins and recognize that we have personally broken God’s laws.  We must take ownership of our sins.  We cannot cast our blame upon another (Ezekiel 18:4).  We cannot blame Adam for our sins.  We cannot blame our parents for our sins.  We cannot blame our culture on our sins.  We can only blame ourselves and admit that we are evil (Luke 11:13).  We are not “basically good” but we are corrupt, ungodly, a hater of good, a lover of pleasure, and selfish.  We do not deserve life but death.  We don’t deserve God’s goodness but His wrath.  We deserve hell.  Until we see that, the cross will matter little to us.  However when we see our sins and repent of OUR sins then we will see how great is the love of God in His forgiveness of ours sins.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
– 1 John 1:9-2:1

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/19/2012 at 5:19 PM

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