Friday, February 10, 2017

Christ Died for Your Hopeless Misery

We know from Romans 7 that the Law is good and holy, and that it was introduced into our lives to reveal the depths of our sin, bring us to the end of ourselves, and point us to Christ. To do that, it works within us great fear, guilt, and misery.  If you have never loathed yourself for sinfulness, then you have not yet known your sin, and are far from Christ.

For a Christian, that loathing can be a miserable thing.  I forget who said it, but I definitely remember some Puritan saying, "for every look you take at your own sins, take ten looks at Christ." The point being that God does not intend us to be creatures constantly filled with self-loathing.  That misery and sense of guilt is not the rejoicing in God that comes from peace and reconciliation through Jesus Christ.

But once the Law enters in to do its work, it can be devastating to the human psyche.  In our weakness, we trade the sin of sin for the sin of misery. If we refuse to look to Christ, then we have truncated the Law's role in the Gospel message.

But consider this, dear brother or sister: that the Law was God's gift to increase the trespass. By the Law comes the knowledge of your sin.  The Law is the catalyst of your misery before God. But the Law is a gift for the very purpose of bringing you to the end of yourself. Which means that what you experience as a result of the Law is itself the gift of God.

Even still, misery and depression can overtake some because of knowledge of their own sinfulness. The misery compounds as one wants  escape from slavery to sin, or escape from the misery that comes from being unable to escape the slavery to sin, or escape from not being able to escape the misery. Misery over misery can be extra miserable. Misery over misery is by definition "hopelessness."

Know this--Christ died for your sin; Christ died for your misery over your sin; Christ died for your hopeless misery over your misery.

A part of your misery is that awful feeling of the separation from God caused by sin. But don't you think that Christ in his tenderness and kindness loves and pities you in that misery? That he knows full-well what he has brought upon you through his gift?  That he knows your weakness?  He knows that you are but dust?  He gave you the gift of the Law, that you might look to him. Therefore he knows what he has done to you through his gift, and he loves and pities you in your pain. He is your high priest even in your misery. He weeps with you, and wants you to know his joy.

In your misery, you imagine his wrath and hate, but instead, you should know his love. You would not feel what you feel for your sin, if not for his love for you.

I know it hurts that you do not love him like you know you should, but remember--he loved you first.

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