Meditations on Space
Meditations on Space, Sin and Credited Righteousness
Lately, the night sky has been a conduit of careful thought for me.
Maybe it’s the blend of dark surroundings and twinkling lights that causes me to sit in meditative wonder. It could be that I merely stumbled into an ordained mingling of opportunity and stillness and decided to take advantage of it. Whatever the case, again, the night sky has been to me a reflection of the Christian life.
Last night’s particular meditation came on the heels of a skirmish with my own sin. My contention was with selfishness, a sin that I once considered to be “small” but has proved substantial since my wedding day.
For two years I’ve come face to face with selfishness so often that I could describe it to a criminal sketch artist if I needed to. It’s ugly. It’s deadly. It’s damning. And it’s alive. Though blind to it in years past, God has used marriage to bring help me recognize this evil in my heart. In fact, throughout my Christian life God has and will continue to unveil the “small” sin in my heart and show me how big it is, and that there is no category for “small” evil in his holy company. This perspective of sin is similar to that of the stars.
See, from where we stand, the stars that fill the night sky look small, twinkling harmlessly with a light gleam. But if God were to elevate us to the star’s presence we would see its enormity, terribly burning, blinding and dangerous.
God shows us our sin in the same way. There is no “small” sin to him. And there should be no “small” sin to us. He shows us its scale and we agree to its seriousness. God commands us to mortify our sin (Colossians 3:5), that is, to kill sin in our lives. Any sin, even that which could seem small, should cause us to mourn (James 4:9) and repent (James 4:8). It should cause us to look to Christ, who was tempted as we are, yet, who slayed every temptation before it could touch him (Hebrews 4:15); who slew even specks of sin kicked in his direction.
This Jesus is whom we follow and there is nothing more humbling than following this conquering Christ. Simply, we can’t follow a perfect Man without realizing our imperfections. We can’t stand proud of our performance when the bar of perfection is well beyond our reach, to say the least. The only way our feeble selves can even recognize perfection is because Perfection graciously chose to walk among imperfection 2,000 years ago.
According to God’s merciful design, the longer we follow this perfect Jesus and study his word, the more we’ll discover our imperfections, our sins. Again, consider space. The longer humankind searches out the depths of the universe, the more endless it seems to be. The same is true of our sin. Throughout the Christian life, as the Spirit of God convicts each of us through his word, we’ll often have days of questioning if existence is merely an endless discovery of sinful matter.
But there is good news for us in days of discouragement. Just like the universe has an endpoint, sin does also have an endpoint. However, Christ’s perfection actually does not. His purity has no end. It’s eternal. The Son of God has dazzled in flawless beauty within the Godhead forever, and if you believe by faith in this Jesus as your Savior, God credits his perfection to you (Romans 4:5). His sinlessness replaces your sinfulness. His purity washes away your impurity. And you follow him because he’s done this work for you and in you.
As we follow Jesus, we realize how badly we need his credited righteousness, and in turn, this becomes the joy of the Christian life in the midst of daily contention with sin: To know that my performance does not and cannot change Christ’s performance. Because Christ perfectly atoned for the sins of every believer, particularly and actually, we can strive for holiness without becoming discouraged when we fail (Hebrews 2:9-18).
His grace soars beyond a universe of sin and carries us with it!
The joy of redemption in Christ is not of this world and this redemption is our means of painful yet joyful repentance. It’s the channel by which God’s discipline towards us remains true yet becomes tender, for good and not for condemnation, urging us to holiness yet catching us in the net of grace when we fall. Because of this, we can rejoice at the apostle John’s words,
As receivers of Christ’s credited righteousness, we confidently repent of every sin, even when our repentance is a struggle, and when sin feels as small yet as large as the stars. Christian, rejoice in this with me today!
James is an author, content writer, and blogger from Fort Worth, Texas. He will be releasing his first book titled, Casual Meditation: Recovering the Art of Christian Meditation for the 21st Century, in the upcoming year. James is married to Cortni, and they have two daughters, Layla and Miley. You can find his blog at www.jameslogalbo.com