Do we as Lutherans think too much about sin?

  The short answer is “no”… unless we focus on it to the exclusion of sin’s remedy, the Gospel. Our battle with sin in this life is daily. The Al. Ringling Theatre - "Last Look" Mirror by Shevaun Kastl

As Christians, we have been delivered from the guilt of sin but we are not free from its presence and power until the day we die and are glorified.

 Some would argue that we should move on and can move on in our Christian walk and instead simply focus upon and glory in our new identity. They would say that our focus should be upon who we are in Christ and not on our ongoing battle with sin. There is some truth to that. It is good to affirm our new identity and be thankful everyday for our new standing with God because of the finished work of Christ. The good news of the Gospel trumps our battle with sin and we need to hear that daily! When the law has done its work of revealing our sin and driving us to despair we need to hear again and again the overwhelming good news of God’s amazing grace, forgiveness and mercy. We live there. Our focus upon the deadly nature of our sin and it’s power is NEVER to the exclusion of the Gospel.

Lutherans seeming preoccupation with continual confession of and repentence from sin, however, I believe comes from a biblical and practical understanding of the pathological nature of sin. If we reduce our understanding of sin to be merely overt acts of wrong and blatant omissions of good, we do a disservice to ourselves and others by ignoring the deadly power of sin, the sinful nature and Satan. The sins we battle in our daily lives and the effects of our sin nature are more subtle, diabolical, and sinister than what we popularly identify as sin. The person who appears to be outwardly pious and victorious in his or her Christian life may have a raging sin problem that is undetectable to others and maybe even to himself. A life of daily confession and repentance by the power of the Word and Holy Spirit, leads us to discover the deep, dark and cavernous mine of sin that lies beneath the surface. Shining the light of truth upon our thoughts and motives and secret desires, reveals to us more and more the hideous ways we trust in ourselves or something other than our creator. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves”. Coming to understand more and more the depth and extent of our sin problem, only makes the Good News sweeter still.

                                          – Rev. Patrick Thurmer

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Patrick Thurmer is pastor of Living Faith Church in Cape Coral, Florida.  http://www.livingfaithcapecoral.com/

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Thanks to Flickr and Shevaun Kastl for the photo.

 

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2 Responses

  1. Nice job, Pastor Pat!

    Sin IS a big problem for us (contrary to many – even in the Church).

    We need the law to accuse us, expose our sinfulness and then drive us to Christ, that the gospel, as you say “will be made sweeter still”.

    Thanks, very much!

    I cannot be reminded enough.

  2. I agree. We err, it seems to me, on both sides of the coin. One is talking about sin legalistically….. no grace or mercy or righteousness of the Cross.

    Or, we only want to talk about love and the fluffy white clouds God has or will give us and we don’t get very “wooden” with many scriptures.

    The Gospel is the “bullseye” and allows to get back on track no matter what side we have seemed to have erred on. The Gospel allows to repent of our worldly, younger brother sins as well as the elder brother sins where we attempt to be so fastidiously good in front of God!

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