Sunday, December 20, 2009

Advent Confessions

Our 6 p.m. service tonight at Walnut Hill was beautiful. Not only did we sing Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, but the sermon was about sin. Call me crazy, but I love a good sermon about sin.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not one of these legalists who loves to wallow in condemnation and guilt. It's just that sometimes I'm so painfully unaware of my need for a Savior. And if you ask me, that's the worst place to be at Christmastime. After all, how can you rejoice in being free if you don't recognize the depth of your sin to begin with?

I have a sweet little gaggle of high school girls who come to my house once a week to study the Bible. It's the most precious time. And yesterday, as we were munching on M&M cookies, talking about boys, and discussing Romans 5, one of them said something really insightful about sin and our need for God's grace. I shared Spurgeon's famous quote with them: "If your sin is small, your Savior will be small. But if your sin is great, then your Savior will be great also." We talked about how Spurgeon (and Paul, whom he was sort of paraphrasing) wasn't saying that we should sin more...he wasn't even necessarily claiming that some sins are greater than others. Rather, he was alluding to how we understand our sin.

Here's a confession: I sometimes pretend my sin isn't such a big deal, that I'm doing okay, really. And that's when my Jesus starts to seem awfully small, too.

So tonight, I relished the reminder of sin's potency in my life. There was a time of silent confession, reminiscent of Sundays at Third, that seemed oh-so-appropriate just days before this holiday where we celebrate the Incarnation. My sin is great. So great, in fact, that it demanded the death and resurrection of God's own Son to reconcile it. That God would pay that price for me, for the world, is the real miracle of Christmas.

Tonight's Advent Scriptures included John 3:16-21. I think I might have skipped over those familiar verses had it not been for the timing of this evening.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.
John 3:19-21

Oh that we might come into the light this Christmas and let our sin be exposed! Then, and only then, will we realize how great is our Savior King, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Our hearts were aligned today...sweet friend. Each time I read your words I feel a greater reverence for our God. You are light. I love you!!!