Missing the Mark
“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 another.

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.” (Isaiah 53:6).

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 transgressed.

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 15:55-57).

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
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