15 Jul Words of Grace – The Weight of Sin Prepares Us for Christ
This Sunday at Grace I will be preaching a sermon from perhaps the most graphic and disturbing passage in the Bible, outside of the crucifixion of Jesus. A woman is given up by her husband in exchange for his own life to a band of lustful men to be raped and abused. Sometime this weekend read Judges 19-21. I will not read this entire passage before the sermon.
This morning we are seeing on our television and computer screens the scenes of the horrific attack in Nice, France, of a truck driver who drove over a mile along a crowded street, killing over 80 people.
Many will ask, “Where is God? Why does he let this kind of evil happen?” The book of Judges gives us the judgment, and it is not of God but of us. This is the kind of thing that happens when, “everyone does what is right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
The weight of the sinful human condition needs to rest heavy on our consciences. This human condition is my condition, and yours. We must resist our tendency to look for reasons for the evil in the world without looking at the sin in the human heart. While it can be emotionally crushing, admitting the sinfulness of the heart – of our own heart – is necessary.
Why? Because doing so prepares us for Christ. The last scene of Judges where a man offers up his concubine in exchange for his own life is a striking contrast to the scene of the cross where Christ offered up his own life in exchange for our freedom from the condemnation of sin.
We must know, feel, and acknowledge our sin before we will turn to Christ for salvation. We must turn to Christ for salvation before we will have freedom from our sin.
Patiently, honestly, prayerfully read this disturbing episode in the Bible. Let it turn your eyes first to the state of your heart, then to Christ on the cross. Pray for the power of conviction and repentance that leads to life for others who will hear this message on Sunday.
Parents, while I will not intentionally elaborate on the graphic nature of this incident, there is no way to deal with the passage without using language that younger children are not used to hearing. I encourage you to read the passage and make your own decision about your child being present. If you think it is best for your child to only attend their Sunday school class (or to attend their class twice if you are at Grace for two service hours), please feel free to make that decision.