I had this insight this morning at church, which at first I thought was for my congregation alone, but as the day wore on, I believe it has a larger application. That is for you to judge.
In the Old Testament reading this morning, taken from Leviticus 19, we were warned against a litany of common sins, sins of entitlement and self-enrichment, as opposed to the call in this morning’s sermon to agape and self-sacrifice, to esteem others as better than ourselves. We should remember this: God pays little attention to our sacrifices, be they of praise and worship or tithes and offerings, for he seeks a contrite and broken heart, a heart brought low by its desire to deal with sin. As high as your soul is exalted on the wings of praise, that is how low you should fall down in agony over your sin, for you are called to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, which is your true spiritual worship.
We need to remember that we cannot hide our sin from God or from the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us. Together, they call us to lay aside every weight of sin that so easily besets and ensnares us. In addition, in our struggle against sin, we need to bear in mind that we have not resisted its enticements to the shedding of our blood.
Therefore, we should not forget that in the beginning God said to Cain that sin was at the door, its desire lying in wait, but that he had to overcome it. God’s call to us has not changed. We too must resist the sin that so easily entraps us, that lies in wait for us; we must lay it aside, not becoming weary or discouraged in our souls as we struggle against it. However, we cannot avoid the struggle by denial, for anyone who says they are without sin is a liar and they have hidden from the truth.
Instead, we should be encouraged because we do not resist the snare or bear the burden alone. Our Father in Heaven, who like any good earthly father, corrects us because he loves us and also strives with us. His desire is to prepare us as a pure and holy bride for his Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To accomplish this, we are called to submit to his correction, to resist sin to the uttermost, and thereby live and enter into the inheritance prepared for his children.
Do not think that anything that you do in service or praise unto the Lord your God comes before this; it does not. God hates sin, but God loves you, having given his only begotten son that you should have eternal life, and through him be saved. Love God as he has loved you, honoring that sacrifice by one of your own, and fulfill the purpose for which you were saved, to become holy and blameless before him.
Therefore repent and resist sin to the uttermost.