One of the clear teachings of the Bible is that the closer we get to God the more aware we are of our own continuing sinfulness and His marvelous grace in forgiving us on a daily basis. This has a twofold outcome of humbling us, for we truly are miserable sinners, and yet, at the same time, giving us the deepest joy for God has truly been merciful to us for Jesus’ sake. So we regularly experience the remorse of contrition with the joy of forgiveness. We can say with the Apostle Paul, I am the worst of sinners, 1 Timothy 1:15-16, and yet again, Rejoice in the Lord always, Philippians 4:4. This is always the safest position for every Christian, because it will keep us humble in ourselves yet joyful in the Lord and not despairing.
One day in a restaurant I experienced this thru a simple illustration. The restaurant has a high ceiling with sun lights around the center. While waiting for my meal the sun was beaming thru those lights sending shafts of light into the room. All of the dust particles were illuminated by the shafts of light so that I was surprised. I had been in the restaurant many times without ever noticing the dust floating in the air. I assumed I was breathing crystal clear, Upper Peninsula air. But in the sunlight I could see the air I was breathing was loaded with dirt particles.
What hit me is that this is what the Christian life is like. Those dust particles were there all along, but they were never detected by me until the brilliant light of the sun shone upon them. Had the clouds blocked the light I would have continued to think the air was dirt-free. It is the same as a Christian. We fail daily in many ways often imperceptible to us. Sins of commission, omission, thought & word cling to us daily. Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?” Proverbs 20:9. Clearly, no one. It is only when the light of God’s Word shines upon us that we see the hidden dirt exposed so clearly by the light of God’s truth.
That’s why the more we study the Bible and learn of the beauty of God’s holiness, the more the brilliant light of His character exposes the remaining impurity within us. We are surprised at the sins we never saw before. We are humbled and led to confession, and then filled with wonder and praise because the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin, 1 John 1:7.
A great biblical illustration of this truth is the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair in Luke 7. Simon the Pharisee, proud of his own righteousness, snubbed Jesus by not having a servant wash His dirty feet as was customary. But this woman lowered herself to do the dirty task with her own hair (which the Bible says is a woman’s glory). Jesus said, Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little, Luke 7:47. The closer she got to Jesus the more humbled she was by His forgiveness of her many sins. But at the same time, the more she also loved Him and found overflowing peace in His wonderful grace and acceptance.
Commenting on this woman, B. B. Warfield, the old-time, Bible-believing Princeton theologian, wrote, But we are saved sinners; and it is our salvation which gives the tone to our life, a tone of joy which swells in exact proportion to the sense we have of our ill-desert; for it is he to whom much is forgiven who loves much, and who, loving, rejoices much. Amen.
Your friend, in Christ, Pastor Brian (:-}).