What is our sin?
And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? Or what is our iniquity? Or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God? Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law; and ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me. Jeremiah 16:10-12
If you have ever read the book of Jeremiah or know something about the spiritual state of Judah during Jeremiah's ministry, you might be tempted to think that there was a witch hiding in every closet in every home during those dark days. It was awful. The level of apostasy was so bad and so irrecoverable that God had determined to send his own chosen people into exile. The city of Jerusalem was to be devastated and the temple destroyed. And it was because of the outrageous sin of the people.
And yet, when Jeremiah tried to confront them with their sins, all they could say was, "What is our iniquity? Or what is our sin?" Despite the flagrancy of their sin, they couldn't see it. They still imagined that they were in good standing with God. They comforted themselves that all was alright. They just couldn't understand why Jeremiah would pronounce such evil against them. It was incomprehensible to them. It was Jeremiah who was bad, not them!
Before you judge the ancient Israelites, however, do we not see our own tendency mirrored here - a tendency to justify sin in our lives, to explain away our unfaithfulness to the Lord, the easiness with which we rationalize our false and wrong behaviors and attitudes? I know this describes all too often my own attitude towards the sin in my life. Therefore, let us, aware of this, make every effort to expose our own hearts, open and bare, before the Lord and his word, and to sincerely ask him, as the psalmist did, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Ps. 139:23-24).
And we should thank the Lord that one of the ways the Holy Spirit ministers to us is to do this very thing: to open our eyes and to remove our blindness (Acts 26:18; 2 Cor. 4:1-6). Jesus Christ died for us, not only to take away our sin but also to take away our blindness to it and to open our eyes instead to the glory of God. Moreover, we need not fear being exposed before the Lord, for we do not relate to him through Christ on the basis of our own works, but on the basis of grace freely given to us in him. He did not come to call the healthy and the righteous, but the sick and the sinful (Mk. 2:17).