To download or view the the issue as a PDF please click on: Sinners In The Hands Of A Merciful God
Sin is a concept that is by and large discounted and even neglected in the Church. Not that many Pastors don’t preach on it—they do—it’s more that sin is an uncomfortable topic to talk about. Think about the last time someone pointed out sin in your life to you. Or the last time you were convicted of your sin by the Holy Spirit. No one enjoys having their sin pointed out to them or being convicted of their sin, yet we need both. We need to be in community with God’s people. You need me to help you grow in grace. In turn, I need you to help me grow. After all we all have “blind spots” in our lives, where we attempt to justify our sin. Some people get very defensive when they have their sin pointed out to them. Those who know the grace of God, however, know they don’t have to have it all together. They are freed in Christ to be who they are.
The more we understand our sin, the more we can rightly understand the work of Christ. After all, Christ dealt a death blow to sin in His death, burial, and resurrection. Since we’re freed from the chains of sin and transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus, we’re free to be who we are in Christ. We’re not free to be who we want to be (living however we want to live). Even our freedom in Christ is restricted. We don’t get to abuse the freedom we have, but we do get to enjoy it. We’re freed from the penalty of sin, but we still experience the very real effects of sin, since we haven’t yet been glorified. There is a tension I hope you see between the “already” and the “not yet” of the Christian life. We’re saints in our standing with God, and yet we’re still sinners, still repenting of our sin. This is why as Martin Luther said, in the very first of his 95 theses he posted to the door of the church at Wittenberg, “When Our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said, “Repent”, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
The clearer we see our sin, the better able we’ll be able to understand the finished work of Christ. Jesus’ death and resurrection dealt a death blow to sin. Through Him, we who have died to the flesh can live according to the Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers God’s people to put sin to death, and live not according to their fleshly desires, but according to the Spirit.
In this issue we’ll be talking about sin. Through the articles, interviews, and book reviews, our aim is to help you consider your sin and to point you to the finished work of Christ, who alone empowers you now through the Holy Spirit to slay your sin. Jesus has sent you out on a mission; He calls you to bring people to Himself through faithfulness to His Word by declaring His gospel to sinners. As you bring sinners to Jesus, He will save them. This means that you and I can be who we are in Christ. We are His; we are His beloved. Yet, we’re not perfect—we’re still growing in His grace. We’re still repenting and we still need one another. I pray this issue helps you understand the doctrine of sin so that you can rightly see your sin, and thus better know, see, and delight in the Savior. It is Christ alone who saves sinners from sin to new life in His Name, and empowers His people to shine the light of the gospel in a dark world.
In Christ Alone,
Executive Editor of Theology for Life