As a woman was waiting in the checkout line of a grocery store, she noticed a young mother standing in line in front of her. The mother had her child strapped to her back in one of those baby-backpacks. Attached to the backpack was a large sign that read: “This child tends to shoplift. Please inform mother.”
Truth be told, each of us could have a sign attached to us. One sign would read: “This person tends to lie.” Another would read: “This person tends to use profane language.” Another would read: “This person tends to lust.” Another would read: “This person tends to covet.” Another would read: “This person tends to throw temper tantrums.” Another would read: “This person tends to not pay his bills.” Another would read: “This person tends to get drunk.” You get the idea.
In Isaiah 53:6, the Bible says:
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way.
Notice please that each person has his or her own way of sin. My way isn’t your way and yours isn’t mine, but each of us is particularly susceptible to some specific sin. For this reason we shouldn’t be so quick to judge others or come down so harshly on their sin. You say, “But I would never be guilty of committing that person’s sin.” Perhaps you wouldn’t, but there is some other sin that you are guilty of committing. And I’m guessing that you know what your pet sin is.
The good news is that the Isaiah 53:6 verse ends by saying:
…And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
The “Lord” spoken of there is God the Father, and the “Him” is God the Son, Jesus. Actually, the entire chapter of Isaiah 53 is a Messianic passage concerning Jesus. Writing prophetically under the inspiration of God, the prophet Isaiah speaks of how Jesus will be “wounded for our transgressions,” “led as a lamb to slaughter,” and “cut off from the land of the living.”
Of course, we Christians understand that Christ’s death on the cross pays the totality of our sin debt to God. We’re very quick to claim that truth, aren’t we? But, unfortunately, too many times we use the fact that we have been forgiven of all our sins as a license to sin. The apostle Paul addresses this problem in Romans 6:1-2 when he writes:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
In the verses that follow, Paul goes on to explain how a Christian’s baptism symbolizes that he has died to his old sinful way of living and is now walking in a newness of life. In this new life, the Christian will no longer be a slave of sin or let sin reign in his body. Rather than presenting the parts of his body as instruments of unrighteousness, he’ll present them as instruments of righteousness. Wow, Christian, when you got baptized you didn’t realize that you were committing to so much did you?
And so I’ll close out this post by simply asking, “How are you doing with your pet sin these days?” Are you keeping it in check? Or is some confession and repentance called for? You’ve probably heard that 1 John 1:9 is found within the context of John offering a word to Christians, not lost people. The verse says:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Like you, I thank God for this verse, and I thank Him that it is written to Christians. However, my point today is that if you find yourself confessing one particular sin over and over again, day after day after day, you need to roll up your sleeves and work harder to STOP committing that sin. If God forced you to literally wear a sign like that baby, the embarrassment would motivate you to change your behavior so that you could lose that sign, wouldn’t it? Well, out of your love for the Lord and appreciation for Christ’s death on the cross, why don’t you go ahead and change your sinful behavior anyway? After all, the Lord doesn’t need a sign to know how you are living.