Do You Fondle Your Sin?
I recently heard a sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:4. The sermon focused specifically on Jesus’ burial from the phrase, “that he was buried…” Most striking to me on that Sunday was the realisation that in a similar way my sin had been buried too. Despite this, I am so quick to run back to the tomb, dig up my sin as it were, and put it back on. I had the image of me walking around with a rotting “old man” on my back.
This past week I had the opportunity to read a prepublication copy of a book on the Gospel. I was stopped in my tracks when the author included the following quote from John Stott:
“The first great secret of holiness lies in the degree and the decisiveness of our repentance. If besetting sins persistently plague us, it is either because we have never truly repented, or because having repented, we have not maintained our repentance. It is as if, having nailed our old nature to the cross, we keep wistfully returning to the scene of its execution. We begin to fondle it, to caress it, to long for its release, even to try and take it down again from the cross. We need to learn to leave it there. When some jealous, or proud, or malicious, or impure thought invades our mind we must kick it out at once. It is fatal to begin to examine it and consider whether we are going to give in to it or not. We have declared war on it; we are not going to resume negotiations … We have crucified the flesh; we are never going to [with]draw the nails.”
– John Stott (emphasis mine)
I don’t think I agree with Stott that repentance for the Christian is the “first great secret of holiness”, but it is a significant, important, and often neglected secret. Far too often I fondle my sin instead of leaving it dead and buried. Far too often I forget that value of Jesus’ precious blood that was shed for my sin. Frequently, when I repent, my repentance is shallow and I’m quick to “[with]draw the nails” from my crucified sin.
Today I’m convicted.
Today I’m looking at what Jesus has done for me.
Today I’m moved to repent.
Lord, help me to keep my sin where you placed it — upon the cross, dead and buried.
Ask yourself this question and chew over it today: “Do I fondle my sin?”