I am well aware that the title of this blog post is one that will not prompt many to open it. Sin is not a chic topic in our contemporary churches, with the cool worship band, the well attended coffee bar and cushy seats. Our environments on Sundays seem to be more concerned with making people feel comfortable than convicted. I get it. I'd rather not face my wicked heart either, but y'all, I love you too much to not bring this up.
I have been very transparent about my sinful past. (Read Part 2 here) Before Jesus, I was oblivious to the consequences of sin. Yes, I knew what inappropriate behavior I was choosing to participate in and I knew right from wrong but I was numb to hurting myself or others. I was immature in my words, understanding and thoughts. Perhaps one could say "You didn't know then what you know now" maybe - but I kinda did. Who I didn't know, what I didn't understand, what I didn't think about was Jesus. Thank God that through Christ we become a brand new creation, but....
Since becoming a christian almost 9 years ago, I have continued to sin, in the exact same ways I did before I gave my life to Christ. Ahuh, real proud. When I talk about living bravely, it's mostly for myself. So many, many times since being born again have I contemplated handing in my christian card and ending the subscription to following Jesus. I fail daily because I choose sin daily.
Presumptuous sin is knowingly doing what God forbids while assuming that you will be covered by His mercy. It is an attempt to force God to apply mercy instead of justice. It is no wonder that John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim’s Progress) once referred to sin as “the dare of God’s justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love.”
“But the person who does anything presumptuously . . . brings reproach on the Lord, and he shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the Lord, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him” (Numbers 15:30–31)
I am deeply, overwhelmingly grateful that verse is in the old testament, before Jesus.
Presumptuous sin is committed in direct contradiction to what a person knows is right and true. God hates presumptuous sin. (Proverbs 6:16) We can know that something is wrong—we’ve spoken out against it, and we’ve counseled others to avoid it—but, given opportunity, temptation, and a moment of weakness, we can succumb to the very sin we were sure we would never commit...again. We knew it was wrong, even as we were doing it, but that knowledge did not prevent us from deliberately moving forward in our sin. It’s almost inexplicable, until we remember the nature of the human heart. We are prone to sin, and that’s why David prays:
“Who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from hidden faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression” (Psalm 19:12–13)
The bible is full of stories of those who committed this type of sin, Eve eating the apple, David with Bathsheba and then Uriah, Peter's denials, Judas' betrayal, Moses' murder, Jonah's disobedience. Consistently, we see disastrous consequences for those who deliberately chose sinful satisfaction over spiritual sanctification. People who presume upon God’s mercy should not be surprised when they experience similar consequences. In fact, they should expect them.
In the above Psalm, David asks God to "keep back thy servant". Friends - we are going to sin. The mindset we ought to cherish is that of a confident belief in the reality of a divine helper. The prayer/request of David has no meaning at all, unless God’s own Holy Spirit was breathed into David's heart as a simple truth. ‘Keep Thou me back,’ means, if it means anything, ‘Give me in my heart a mightier strength than my own, which will curb all this evil nature of mine, and bring it into conformity with your holy will.’
Jesus himself taught us to pray "deliver us from evil". You cannot escape sin on your own... you need friends, support and the Holy Spirit to flee from it. Surround yourself with the spirit of the sword so that as you live life with eyes wide open, you are not blinded by sin but are able to behold the beauty of Christ's sacrifice - for you.