Come to help me, for the multitude of my inveterate sins
have made dense my too guilty heart;
they have bent me, perverted me, have blinded me,
have twisted me and withered me...
- Anonymous, Litany of Confession, Irish, 15th century
There is no soundness in my flesh
Because of Your anger,
Nor any health in my bones
Because of my sin.
- Psalm 38.3
Sin is a terrible power. It is to be neither ignored nor taken lightly. The present attitude, common in many churches, of not making a big deal out of sin, reminds us of nothing so much as the Corinthian church, which Paul scalded and scolded into doing what was right.
Sin is spiritual rot. It eats away at our affections, poisons our minds, compromises our values, and corrupts our lives. It’s no wonder the Scriptures command us to hate sin (Ps. 97.10). We may think we can get by with a little self-indulgent, secret sin or two, but we’re setting ourselves up for disaster at some point. We may think that having in our churches people who flaunt their supposed righteousness while concealing wickedness in their hearts is merely the norm these days; yet the Holy Spirit does not share that opinion (cf. Acts 5).
The psalmists described the wearying effects of sin harbored in the soul. It pollutes the whole being, cuts us off from fellowship with God, and deflects our prayers from His holy ears (Ps. 66.18). The best thing to do with sin is to face up to it, confess it, denounce it, repent of it, and then set your life on another course.
But sin isn’t much talked about in churches today. Too negative and old fashioned for many churchgoers. They don’t want people to feel like they’re sinners; they want them to know they’re accepted and loved, just as they are.
What, we can’t do both?
Of course we must love even the worst of sinners; but that doesn’t mean we may overlook sin in them any more than we should overlook it in ourselves. Sin is corrosive and destructive wherever it lurks, and our calling, in loving our neighbors as ourselves, is to help them escape the clutches and snares of sin with as much fervor and forthrightness as we should direct toward ourselves.
Jesus’ attitude toward sin was not to wink at it, as though it were but a small thing. He exposed the sins of wicked people, confronted them in their self-centered ways, exposed their hypocrisy, and drove them and their sinful practices from the house of prayer. Some would find such an approach to sin shocking and unacceptable.
Is this because we think we know better than the Lord how we should pursue the life of faith?
The promises of God that lead us to intimate communion with the Lord will always elude us as long as we regard sin as a light matter. Until we have escaped the corruption of sin, we will never partake of Jesus (2 Pet. 1.4). This is not a call for perfectionism of life, which is not possible. It is rather a call for diligent and consistent confession and repentance, whenever the Lord convicts us of sin in our lives or our churches.
When the early church faced up to sin and dealt with it according to the leading of the Spirit, the Word of God increased, and the church grew in holiness and power.
Today, when the Word of God is not increasing in our society, and when the church is not growing in holiness and power, we need people, led by the Spirit, who will help us come to our prodigal senses, repent of our self-serving ways, and return in humility to our Father, Who waits for us eagerly.
Are you willing to be one of those, beginning in your own life?
1. What is it about sin that makes it seem so harmless, when it is in fact so destructive?
2. How can we know when some sin is beginning to work its rot in our soul?
Psalm 38.17-22 (Leoni – The God of Abraham Praise)
My sins I now confess; my anxious soul relieve!
Though foes are strong, Lord, heal and bless all who believe!
Forsake me not, O Lord!
Repay my foes with wrath.
Stand by me with Your saving Word and guard my path!
I’m a sinner, Lord, but in what ways? Show me my sin, O Lord, so that I…
Look into God’s Law
Paul says the Law of God is useful, in the first instance, to reveal our sin (Rom. 7.7). We should do whatever we can to familiarize ourself with God’s Law, so that we can walk the path Jesus walked when He was on earth (1 Jn. 2.1-6). Our book, The Law of God, compiles all the ancient laws and statutes of Israel under the headings of the Ten Commanments. Read and meditate on a page of this each day, and let God show you the path of liberty, life, and love more clearly. Order your copy by clicking here.
As you pray…
Would you prayerfully consider helping The Fellowship? Take a few minutes today and ask the Lord whether He would have you share with us regarding the financial needs of this ministry. God supplies all our needs, and He does so through friends who share our vision and benefit from our ministry. It’s easy to give to The Fellowship of Ailbe, and all gifts are, of course, tax-deductible. You can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore, Principal
All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Plummer, Litanies, p. 5.