“If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?”
By Jon W. Quinn
God has reached out to those who would seek
and find Him through His Son. It is Jesus who has made the claims to be God’s
Son. He is the Messiah, Savior and Redeemer, and our only access to God. He
provided credentials to substantiate His claims, not mere pieces of paper or
human legal documents, but miracles, including His own resurrection. The
character of Jesus also confirms that His claims are true.
So Jesus is the Savior of sinners. Accepting that, we are going to look at His
work. He did not become our Savior automatically. Because God is just and
righteous, Jesus had to accomplish a task before He could benefit us. To
understand the work that Jesus came to do, we must understand who we are as
well as who He was. His work was necessary because of our sins and His unique
competence to provide salvation from those sins.
When we finally see the sinners that we are, we will better understand the
grace He brings to us. Sin is a common thing in the fallen world we live in.
It is a major aspect of human earthly experience. Sin is not merely a problem
of man's society, lack of education or poor environment. It affects all from
every category of human society. We are sinners by our own choice, and
therefore accountable. Sin has adversely affected every facet of our society
and our individual lives. Think: why do we have laws, contracts, door locks,
and receipts? Why are there debates over gun control? Why are prisons so
crowded? Why are there still so many out of prison that need to be in prison?
Because man sins we cannot trust each other and we need protection from one
Sin is Universal
The Old Testament confirms this as a fact of life. Solomon observed “Indeed,
there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never
sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). A Psalm ponders the question, “If You, LORD,
should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3; see also
143:2). Isaiah relates this universal sin to the sacrifice that Jesus would
one day make: “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to
his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”
The universality of sin is also confirmed by the New Testament. The Apostle
Paul (in Romans 1-3) shows that all have sinned, both Jew and Gentile; “for
all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The Apostle
John is even more explicit (1 John 1:8,10).
The Nature of Sin What is it?
What is sin? Sin is failure. It is a moral and spiritual failure of a
responsible being before the Creator in the Creator’s universe. We could call
it a shortcoming, a lapse, a slip, a blunder. It may be any of these things,
but we ought not to think calling it a “slip” will minimize the tragedy of it,
nor the consequences.
The Greek word for “sin” literally refers to a missing of the mark as in
target practice. When a deed is compared to that which is good or righteous,
and it misses it, then it has “missed the mark” and is therefore sin. It is
transgression. It goes beyond the boundaries. (1 John 3:4).
All of us have transgressed the law, therefore none of us can claim
justification by law (Romans 3:19-20) That is why we welcome God’s grace
whereby we can become justified by faith (Romans 3:21-28). Faith is the
response of the sinner as one puts his or her trust in God to save. The
response is made to the word of God, and seeks to comply with it. Faith obeys
the gospel to be freed from sin by the grace and power of God (Romans 6:3,4;
17-18; 1:5; 16:26-27).
This all means that there does exist an absolute moral code in this universe.
Sin's reality implies the existence of some moral standard or code that we can
transgress. James says, "Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it,
for him it is sin." (James 1:17). There is such a thing as “what is right to
do”. No matter what moral code has been set before man, he has transgressed it
or failed to keep it. For the patriarchs it was God’s moral law. For the Jews
it was the Law of Moses, for the Gentiles it was the law of conscience. For us
today it is the law of Christ. But for whatever age or law, we have all
Can we be “good enough” to get by? Many folks today feel that they are "good
people". While not perfect they suggest that they are good enough to get by.
Why do they feel that way? Sometimes because they have not set a very high
standard for themselves to keep. Some think that as long as they are not
condemned by others, then God must be pleased as well (Isaiah 5:20,21). Some
think if sin is kept secret, then it loses its consequences (Isaiah 29:15).
For some, they believe them selves acceptable because they measure by a
standard other than God’s word ( 2 Corinthians 10:12). People often overlook
God's awareness of and concern with even the thought behind the deed and the
motive behind the action. The consequences of sin is separation from God and
His goodness, and that separation can be eternal if not corrected.
Sin Must And Can Be Defeated
The Old Law did not justify sinners. That Law was not given to justify, but
rather, to reveal unto us a standard by which we could recognize our own
spiritually fatal shortcomings (Romans 7:12-13). Jesus did for us what the Law
could not do. Jesus became our justifier and Redeemer (Romans 8:1-4).
The Old Law was given to keep the faithful safe until the Redeemer came to pay
the price of redemption (Galatians 3:18-29).
The consequence of sin is death. Physical, spiritual and eternal death are all
related to sin (Romans 6:23). While in sin, we have no hope (Ephesians
2:12-13). If one dies in sin, then death has not lost its sting (1 Corinthians
Much of our sins are covert, they take place within our hearts and minds. God
is concerned with just that place. Our minds the breeding ground of sin. He
sees in there, "Before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid
bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." The laws of God shows up our
sins for what they really are. Salvation is offered by God to man through our
Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
From The Bradley Banner 4/29/2012
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway