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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

My Sins Grieve Me

By Louis Rushmore

My sins (and your sins) grieve God. However, until my sins grieve me, my sins will continue to grieve God. Better than anyone else (including particularly insightful and pseudo-omniscient brethren), I am aware of my sins. I remember the sins of which I have been guilty and they bring me much personal pain. I regret every one of them and with renewed vigor through prayer and reliance on the Word of God, I hope to prevent their reoccurrence in my life.

Grief for sin is a difficult disposition for mortals to adopt, though it is a spiritual posture that is essential and a prerequisite to forgiveness. Nehemiah wept and said "Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned" (Nehemiah 1:6). (See also Psalms 106:6.)

When confronted with his sins (at an earlier time in Jewish history than the last reference), King ". . . Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words . . ." (1 Samuel 15:24). However, as in this instance, the consequences of sin cannot always be undone (1 Samuel 15:26).

Following Nathan's parable and the pronouncement of the sins of adultery and murder, King David responded, ". . . I have sinned against the Lord . . ." (2 Samuel 12:13). Again, there were consequences for sin that could not be reversed.

The words "I have sinned" (at least in one's mind) must precede repentance. Admission of sin, though by itself is not repentance. Additionally, a sinner must petition God for forgiveness. A sinner also needs to forgive himself upon penitence. Judas acknowledged his sin but neither petitioned God for forgiveness nor could forgive himself for betraying the Christ. Tragically, he hanged himself (Matthew 27:3-5).

Fortunately, when God forgives sins he essentially forgets them (as far as holding those commissions of sin against us later). "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12). Therefore, we should refrain from needlessly afflicting ourselves with sins for which God has forgiven us.

Though forgiven, the apostle Paul frequently recalled that he had been an ardent persecutor of the Lord's church (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13; Philippians 3:6) and of the Lord himself (Acts 9:4). Paul remembered how he formerly captured Christian men and women, imprisoned them, caused them to blaspheme and consented to their deaths (Acts 7:58; 8:1-3; 22:4; 26:10). Rather than to allow himself to be overwhelmed with sorrow, Paul turned the bad memories of sin into a catalyst to propel himself into unparalleled dedicated service to Christ (1 Corinthians 15:10). Paul appeared to be trying to compensate for his ignoble past by "redeeming the time" (Ephesians 5:16; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28).

Is it time for a new beginning in your life? There are no sins so hideous that God will not forgive if we repent (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). God's redemptive plan is found in the New Testament: Hear it and believe (Romans 10:17), profess allegiance in Christ (Romans 10:9-10), repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38). Immersion in water imitates the burial of Christ and allows one to symbolically contact the saving blood of Jesus (Romans 6:3-5; John 19:34; Ephesians 1:7).

Even erring Christians can experience a new beginning. For us, contact with our Lord's blood is available through penitence and prayer (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:7).

Our sins grieve God. My sins grieve me. Do your sins grieve you enough to do something about them?

H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, email:
P. O. Box 690192
Houston, Texas 77269-0192
(281) 469-3540

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