Friday, February 11, 2011

Lost: A Sense of Sin

I remember as a child and even as a young adult that my dad seemed to have an answer for every question that I ever had. He read constantly and his knowledge of a wide range of subjects continues to amaze me even today, and he’s been with the Lord since 1997. Now-a-days I refer all my questions to “google”, whom I facetiously call “Dad”. Dad knows everything! When my father died, I inherited most of his library of theological books. I have often wished that I had gotten to know my father more intimately than I did, and that we could have shared some of the deeper aspects of the Reformed Faith, but we were both very busy. He, as a Pastor, with the nurture of his local congregation and me....well, with my latest self-indulgence. (cars, girlfriends, cars, hot-rods, parties, cars, girls..etc...etc)

One of the ways that I have found to reacquaint myself with my father is through the books that he read. I have mentioned this in previous blogs. I have just recently come upon another of his books, this one entitled, “Basic Beliefs of the Reformed Faith”, by Felix Gear, 1960. The stated purpose of this little 80 page booklet, sanctioned by The Presbyterian Church in the United States (Dad’s Church), subsequently the PCUSA, is this: “This book can be used by an individual to get new insights into the Word of God as a foundation for theological truth.” Given the PCUSA’s latest stance against maintaining the Book of Order standard which requires those ordained into the Church to “live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness”, I found the teaching on page 22 of this book worthy of revisiting, verbatim:

(under the heading, Knowledge of sin brings unrest and torment. Psalm 51:3-5)

“Sin’s hectic, haunting, disturbing nature is vividly expressed in the poignant words: “And my sin is ever before me.” He sees it every second, thinks about it constantly, and suffers from it all the time. A thousand different things daily remind him of it; he has no rest, no relief. One of Evelyn Waugh’s novels gives a modern description of how one feels when caught in the grip of sin: “Living in sin, with sin, by sin, for sin, every hour, every day, year in, year out. Waking up with sin in the morning, seeing the curtains drawn on sin, bathing it, dressing it, clipping diamonds to it, feeding it showing it round, giving it a good time, putting it to sleep at night with a tablet of Dial* if it’s fretful.” Sin follows us, presses down upon us as a crushing burden, tortures us mercilessly; there is no escape from its sneering, mocking shadow. It is constantly before the mind as something black, thick, nasty, sticky, and sinister, ever present yet just beyond reach. Why is it...?.......because his sin is against God.”

Now, this brief paragraph really does strike home personally, and I think that is intended by the author. And it makes me wonder in this day and age of tolerance, have we lost the sense of sin that the Psalmist so vividly describes in this Psalm 51?

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom 6:1-2)

(*sleeping pill)

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