The Magnitude of Sin
"And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation." -Exodus 34:6-7
It seems today in many Christian churches the magnitude of sin is lost on us. We all talk about the grace and mercy found in Christ, and rightfully so, yet we cannot understand this grace and mercy if we do not have a right understanding of sin and the punishment it deserves.
In Christ, His life, death, and resurrection, God has forgiven us of sin and made a way for us to be in His presence yet this in no way wipes out the magnitude of sin. If we look in the verses from Exodus, God said He will in no way clear the guilty yet He also maintains that He will have mercy and forgiveness for some. We know that everyone in the world stands guilty before God, ALL have sinned and fallen short of His glory. We can never look to the law and present a case for our own righteousness before God. Sin will always have its just punishment. The just punishment that ALL of humanity deserves is to be cast into the Lake of Fire, hell, for all of eternity. Do we ever dwell on this? In Christ God did not make a way for sin to be viewed as “not a big deal”, or for us to think that in Christ God does not hate sin anymore. The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament, He has always and will always HATE sin. The question we must ask ourselves is, “Is this my view of God and sin?”.
Do we realize that sin before and after Christ is still detestable in the sight of God, or do we think God now “winks” at our sin and is okay with it? This dawned on me the other day when I was listening to our preacher. The hate, wrath, anger, and fury for my sin, that I deserved was not just wiped away, it was POURED OUT ON CHRIST. Think about that! Yes we do not have to pay for that sin, but every wicked thing we have done, and continue to do, has a just reward from God, and that was taken on in our place by Christ. Christ, although perfect, sinless, spotless, and perfectly just, was punished as if He was a murderer, liar, fornicator, perjurer, etc, an all around immoral person. I believe that if we as a church had a correct view of this it would serve to make us all weep over our sin and do even more to glorify the one who took our punishment. We must understand that there was a punishment doled our for our sin, God did not turn a blind eye to it, but laid it on His Son. Having this right view of sin may also serve to help us in times of temptation, when we fail it did not/does not go unpunished but was laid on our savior at the cross.
In closing I think this is a major part of the gospel missing in the seeker sensitive movements of today. People are scared to talk of the wrath of God, and the eternal punishment of hell, against sin because they don’t want to scare away people. The problem is that if people don’t understand that magnitude of what they have done they can never understand the magnitude of what Christ has done for them. This is a false gospel that does not reveal the true glory of God and the grace and mercy found in Christ. Thanks be to God for Christ and what He has done for us in taking the punishment we all deserve on Himself!