Why Remembering the Lord’s Sovereignty Should Keep Us From Sin
If we were to name the number one problem amongst all men, but especially Christians who should know better it would be: sin. Why is sin such a problem? Because we are sinners. Why are we sinners? Because Adam sinned. Why do we refuse to deal with sin? Because we love sin. Why do we love sin? Because there is no fear of God in our eyes. We are the captains of our own desires.
That little syllogism matters due to the fact that we, and obviously unbelievers, forget the reality of the subject of our Larger Catechism question and answer for today. Eternal damnation by its very definition is forever. Whatever enjoyment/blessing/gift we receive from sin will never last that long, nor will it actually provide what we desire for the time period we want. We know that, or at least we should, in our heads. So how do we keep the truth of the consequences of sin in the forefront of our mind in order that we might be wise to its pain? The Bible tells us that each and every transgression of the law is equally deserving the full and complete condemnation by God of the individual who sins. We know this, but continue to do it anyway. Why?
It is a good question, one that every human being needs to be able to give an answer to. Today’s Q/A will be taken up with providing a workable and straight-forward solution that as usual has its grounding in the Lord’s triune nature. Let’s get to it:
Q. 152. What does every sin deserve at the hands of God?
A. Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty, goodness, and holiness of God, and against his righteous law deserves his wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come; and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ.
While last week we talked about the gradations of sin in regard to their heinousness we should not allow that simple fact to get in the way of how all men should revolt at the idea, let alone the act, of sin. We should hate sin with a perfect hatred. In the WLC above the first item that the writers bring up as an assistance in this matter is the concept of God’s sovereignty. How does this provide help in remembering why we should not sin? First it humbles us. Our desire to sin usually arises from our hope to organize our life according to our own wisdom, aka pride. In Ephesians 1:4 the word says, “. . . just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Notice in the construction of the verse by Paul that our divine election is the source of our obedience. Why should we be holy and without blame before Him in love? He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. To sin then is to act against the very purpose for which we have been made.
Even more than that in the second place the reason for our receiving the predestinating grace of the Lord was done in love. Our sin then not only rises against God’s eternal plan, but it is a violation of His benevolent care in our justification. Everyone’s favorite Bible passage begins in the same way. Why has Christ laid down His life for us? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 echoes Paul’s message completely. It is by love and for love that we are redeemed. To sin then is to spit in the face of the affection that God has for you.
All these things are connected together. Q.152 is an inerrant encapsulation of the gospel laid out in a way that we do not often consider. We’ve spoken before about the uses of the law and one of the most important testimonies the law gives to the sinner is that he or she has broken it in jot and tittle. Having made us aware of this grave injustice the law then by the examples found in the old covenant types and shadows, the death of goats and heifers, and the spreading of their blood on the mercy seat, bears witness to the necessary death which much spring from sin. It is in the gory mess of the ceremonial system of Aaron that we are drawn to look at the bountiful glory of the priesthood of Melchizedek born in the manger in Bethlehem. That expiating benevolence He only could provide. This is the gospel in all its fullness.
To piggy-back on that let’s go to the list we started with when we highlighted the sovereignty of God. The next word used is goodness. Sin is a lie that begins with the line uttered by Satan in the garden, Hath God Really Said? In other words, does God actually have your best interests in mind or is He keeping you from experiencing happiness? For the Christian the answer is plain. If our Lord has decreed it to be so in His commandments then what can we say but yeah and amen in felicity to His praise.
There is so much to be said for the generous order of life opened to us in the wisdom of the law. In the Proverbs Solomon spends much time helping us to see that walking in the paths opened by God for us is the only means by which we can flourish. The goodness of God is what we are denying when we choose a different path. We are saying to the Creator that His plan is wrong and that we have a better idea on how to get to Point A than the one who made the map. How wildly arrogant then is it to look at the Scriptures, know what they plainly say, and then act our of accord with His wisdom! It seems insane when you think about like that, but that is what each of us are doing when we sin. Sin is not merely getting it wrong, it is open rebellion against God’s sovereignty and His goodness as our heavenly Father.
In closing, that last word in the trio we’ve been taking time to consider, holiness, is the kicker to our transgressive heart. Not only is the law good, but it is holy as well. When we define holiness we need to remember that we are to be holy, because God is holy (1 Cor. 3:17). What that means at its most basic is that we are separated from the polluted world and granted access into the holy of holies in Christ. To sin then is to run back into the arms of death and wallow in the mire of ugliness. Is that really what a believer should be doing, or should we by grace through faith in the sanctifying mercy of the Holy Spirit be striving to be holy? I think we have our answer.
Here is a final word:
Blessings in Him,
Rev. Benjamin Glaser
Pastor, Bethany ARP Church