Thursday, July 03, 2008

Knowing Sin & Wrath

After listening to one of Piper's sermons on Romans, he reminded me of something my husband said of a man who did not want to come to church week after week and listen to the doom and gloom of our recent Jeremiah series. Piper would encourage us to respond to such a person and remind us of the importance of such preaching of God's judgment, sin and wrath in three ways.

1. Superficial diagnoses lead to false remedies.

Superficial diagnoses lead to false remedies and no cures. If you want to find true remedies for a disease, and if you want to bring a lasting cure to the people who are diseased, then you need more than a superficial grasp of the disease itself. Those who care most about a cure for AIDS or cancer, spend almost all their time studying the disease.

2. Understanding sin and wrath will make you wiser.

Profound understanding of sin and wrath will make you a far wiser person about human nature - your own and others. And if you are wiser about the nature of the human soul, you will be able to fight your own sin more successfully, and you will be able to bless others more deeply with your insight and counsel. I have pled with women and men in this church in recent months that what we need to nurture and cultivate here at Bethlehem over the next decades is sages -men and women who ripen with years into deeply sagacious people: wise, discerning, penetrating, deep lovers of people and deep knowers of human nature and God's nature, who can see deeply into the tangle of sin and sacredness that perplexes the saints and threatens to undo us. If you run away from the study of sinful human nature - if you say, I don't like to think about sin - then you run away from yourself, and you run away from wisdom, and, worst of all, you run away from the deepest kinds of love.

3. Knowing the nature of sin and wrath will cause you to cherish the gospel.

Probably the most important thing I would say, and the most firmly rooted in Romans 1:18, is that knowing the true condition of your heart and the nature of sin and the magnitude and justice of the wrath of God will cause you to understand the mighty gospel, and love it, and cherish it, and feast on it, and share it as never before. And this is crucial because this is the way the gospel saves believers. If you don't understand the gospel, if you don't cherish it and look to it and feed on it day after day, it won't save you (see 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Col. 1:23). Knowing sin and wrath will help you do that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have thought of this same thing a lot lately.
My husband, a pastor, has some members who have quite coming sending the message to him that he is a legalist because he speaks boldly the Truth of the Word of God and the conclusion that the staff has come to is man just doesn't want to here the Truth and so they run. Of course these that are saying these things have never attended on a regular basis anyway so.....