From almost the initial beginnings, sin infiltrated the world and created a destruction that today continues to inflict havoc in our world. So quickly did sin enter the world that our history book (the Bible) hardly records an era when sin did not exist. Biblical history recounts repeated subversions to God’s authority through the submission to one’s personal authority through sin. Never do the consequences of those instances offer a positive picture of sin; instead, they often bring catastrophe and condemnation through God’s judgment.
Sin made its place in the world, and as it did so, the Lord provided teaching and correction so that the world would reject sin and seek a savior. Few of us realize that when the Savior did come, sin was transformed. Certainly, it’s nature, form, and consequence did not change. However, the incarnation brought forth both its revelation and its vanquishment.
In the midst of the Farewell Discourse, Jesus knowingly instructs the disciples of what is to come: rejection and hatred from the world. How could it be that such hatred can exist? Because Jesus reveals their sin. He notes, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22). We may ask ourselves, why now? Not only has sin existed since Genesis 3, but it has coincided with God’s condemnation of it as well. Sin has always been more than wrong, but it has been an activity that subverts the glory of God. Therefore, Christ’s words seem contrary to what we read, do they not? Have not people always been guilty of their sin?
Earlier in the gospel of John, we are able to read, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and doe not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (John 3:18-21). Jesus Christ is a visible light that none has seen before. Such a light shines brightly to expose all works for what they are in light of a higher standard. While men compare themselves to other men, all works are revealed in the light of who Christ is: absolutely pure and absolutely holy.
When this point is recognized, sin is elevated to an indescribable level of seriousness. As a result, there are but two responses: sanction or rejection. Either those who have their sin are exposed will sanction the correction or reject the solution. By Christ’s own words in the earlier citation (John 15:22), all people are now without excuse for their sin. Christ coming into the world took away any vindication, exoneration, rationalization, explanation, or justification that people may have had for their sins.
Christ’s revelation of sin brings about conviction, not for the sake of condemnation but the sake of sanctification. Such a revelation compels each of us to examine our sinfulness in light of Christ’s holiness, an examination that leads to the development of Christlike attitudes and actions. In like manner, our lives should reveal sinfulness through holiness, not as a condemnation of others and an elevation of ourselves, but as an example of hope of a life in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Photo “Love, Life, God” courtesy of user Kaustubh Moghe and Flickr.