Well, maybe I did, or maybe I didn’t. I’m not quite sure 😉
What should our general attitude be as Christians? Should we carry ourselves with a quiet confidence in our righteousness or did God intend for us to see ourselves as unrighteous, but strong only through our faith in Christ? I hope I don’t conflate two different blog articles here, but a particular passage stood out to me a while back while going through the book of Leviticus:
Procedures for the Sin Offering
“1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. This is how you are to deal with those who sin unintentionally by doing anything that violates one of the LORD’s commands. 3 “If the high priest[a] sins, bringing guilt upon the entire community, he must give a sin offering for the sin he has committed. He must present to the LORD a young bull with no defects. 4 He must bring the bull to the LORD at the entrance of the Tabernacle,[b] lay his hand on the bull’s head, and slaughter it before the LORD……………..
13 “If the entire Israelite community sins by violating one of the LORD’s commands, but the people don’t realize it, they are still guilty……………..
22 “If one of Israel’s leaders sins by violating one of the commands of the LORD his God but doesn’t realize it, he is still guilty……………..
28 When they become aware of their sin, they must bring as an offering for their sin a female goat with no defects.”
Wait a minute, you mean I commit sin sometimes and don’t even realize it? You mean I walk away after doing something sinful and it never again crosses my mind? God says that you and I are still guilty of this sin and it must be atoned for. Wow, how depraved are we? Really depraved. So much so that we’re told in Hebrews that Jesus after dying on the cross, now as the great high priest, lives to intercede for our sins continually.
Hebrews 7: 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Jesus is in intercession for you and I continually. That is a profound statement, and it’s humbling. When I read the bible, I see sin and our depraved state within that sin as a consistent message from cover to cover. I see our righteous and confidence only firmly grounded in our faith through Jesus Christ. If we commit sins that we don’t even know about, then how many more do we commit that we are fully aware of. Sins that we consciously pass off as “okay” because we didn’t really “intend” to hurt anyone or ourselves. Paul was fully aware of this and mentions this even in the midst of lecturing (by letter) the church in Corinth about their own sin. He breaks away momentarily to acknowledge the following:
“1 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. ”
Notice how says that his conscience is clear, but that did not make him innocent.
Considering this general theme that we find in the bible I’m always a bit cautious of this newer American self-help gospel message. It’s a message that tries to persuade us about how awesome we are, and how we have forgotten it to our own detriment. The motto is that “If we only realized how awesome we really were, then we would be doing much greater things in the earth”. Even things greater than what Christ did.
Stay tuned for Part 2………………