Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sin Boldly

"Therefore let us arm our hearts with these and similar statements of Scripture so that, when the devil accuses us by saying:
'You are a sinner; therefore you are damned',
we can reply: 'The very fact that you say I am a sinner makes me want to be just and saved.'
'Nay, you will be damned', says the devil.
'Indeed not,' I reply, 'for I take refuge in Christ, who gave Himself for my sins. Therefore you will accomplish nothing, Satan, by trying to frighten me by setting the greatness of my sins before me and thus seducing me to sadness, doubt, despair, hatred, contempt, and blasphemy of God. Indeed, by calling me a sinner you are supplying me with weapons against yourself so that I can slay and destroy you with your own sword; for Christ died for sinners. Furthermore, you yourself proclaim the glory of God to me; you remind me of God's paternal love for me, a miserable and lost sinner; for He so loved the world that He gave His Son. Again, whenever you throw up to me that I am a sinner, you revive in my memory the blessing of Christ, my Redeemer, on whose shoulders, and not on mine, lie all my sins; for "the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" and "for the transgression of His people was He stricken" (Is. 53:6-8). Therefore when you throw up to me that I am a sinner, you are not terrifying me; you are comforting me beyond measure.'" ~ Martin Luther

What a great reminder of how to turn the accusations of satan back on to him. It is this kind of confidence in Christ's work and God's love that led Luther to say in a letter to Melanchthon, "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for He is victorious over sin, death, and the world." Luther was not advocating cheap grace or free license to sin, but what he was doing was fighting against the tendency of believers to either let guilt or underestimation of sin keep them from running to Christ and letting Him fix it. It is our underestimation of sin that makes us self-righteous and our wallowing in guilt that makes us afraid. Both keep us from going to a savior who would forgive us and change us. Steve Brown comments, "Sinning isn't the worst thing you can do. The worst thing you can do is pretending that you don't. Repentance is the bridge which leads to a loving and gracious God. When you burn the bridge... you burn the bridge to the only hope you've got. So if you sin, sin boldly then go to Him and let Him fix it. He won't be angry, He'll be pleased with your coming." When we sin if we say, "Fine, I sinned, it was a big one, and I feel really bad about it, but Christ's work paid for that one too so take that, satan!" and then run to God, He will work on us and change us in His time. If we try to cover it up or let guilt overtake us then nothing will change.

By His Grace,

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