During this season of Lent, we become aware of spiritual truths that can only happen in light of the arrival and revealing of Jesus. Last week, we remembered that the Lent season brings an awareness of our frailty and the temporary nature of our earthly lives. Stemming from this is an awareness of our sin.
Lent helps us to see and be aware of the ways that sin has marred every one of our lives. We recall this important passage from Romans 3 as we continue through Lent:
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
- Romans 3:21–25 (ESV)
Everyone has sinned against the perfect holiness of God. Accepting this truth continues the posture of awareness that we keep during Lent.
Aware that our sin has separated us from God. 'Falling sort of the glory of God' is the way that this Scripture describes how we have been separated from God because of our decisions to reject his ways and because of our attitudes of self-idolatry. These habits and this heart does not recognize God as God and forsakes our originally God-established relationship with him. Sinfulness separates us from God. Being aware of our sinfulness helps us to see our need for God.
Aware that our sin harms others. As we forsake God's person and reject his ways, we end up harming others in the process. By insisting on our own ways or by make ourselves the most important, our desicions end up wounding others who have been made in God's image. If you are living in willful sin, other people are merely obstacles in the way of indulging your will or tools to be used for your crooked purposes. Being aware of our sinfulness helps us to consider how our sinful actions affect other people.
Aware that our sin harms ourselves. After our sinful practices have hurt others, they end up hurting ourselves. Sinful living runs contrary to how we were designed to live in relationship with God and to fulfill his will over our own. By destroying relationships, ignoring God's ways, or living self-indulgently, we end up causing destruction in the life that God has given to each of us. Being aware of our sinfulness helps us to wake up to the devastation of our own God-given life.
Aware that we need forgiveness and grace. When the Holy Spirit convicts us and makes us aware of our sinful actions or attitudes, we become aware of our need for grace and forgiveness. The Bible reminds us of the Good News we have because of Jesus:
9 ...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
- Romans 10:9–13 (ESV)
Lent sharpens our awarenss of our need for fogiveness, but also keeps us aware that this is wonderfully supplied by Jesus.
In this second week of Lent, be aware of the ways that the Holy Spirit is convicting you of sin. Also be aware of the ways that our sin affects God, others, and ourselves. Let this conciousness of sin keep leading you back to Jesus, calling on his name to be saved.