The whole atmosphere of the room changed as men became transparent and honest sharing their battle with different sins. It was a holy moment, one that would lead us all to our knees.
As I was processing this sacred time, which happened at the Formed Men’s Retreat last month, the word that kept repeating in my thoughts was, “gift!” The Father loves us so much that He exposes our sins through the Holy Spirit.
Later I wrote these words in my journal:
Until you experience the gift of seeing your sins you will not understand the glory of the Gospel.
The Simple Gospel starts with a revelation of the depths of your fallen nature controlled by sin. When I was a young boy, the church that we attended read the 10 commandments or some form of the Law every Sunday. To be honest I didn’t think much of it- other than just a bunch of rules to follow and it seemed stuffy.
However, one Sunday night when I heard a simple Gospel message the Holy Spirit opened up my heart and the first time I felt the weight of my sins. I felt exposed, a law- breaker who violated every one of the 10 commandments, plus a whole lot more. Encountering my sin pushed me into the arms of my forever Savior Jesus.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans, one of the purest presentations of the Gospel:
“God kindness leads you toward repentance…” 2:4
These words from Paul are immediately after twenty-two Greek nouns and adjectives describe sin and evil in the world (1:29-32). And just before he exposes those with a religious judgmental spirit who think they are saved by their own right living (2:5-3:1-31).
Without the gift of God’s kindness both those living like the world and those trusting in their own good works are doomed to live forever separated from the love of God.
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (3:23, 6:23).
O the “Kindness” of God “the Gift of God,” is the Holy Spirit who shines the searchlight of Heaven to reveal the darkness of my own deceived heart. Without this “Kindness,” the chains of my sin forever imprison me. No matter how hard I try, no matter how religious I become, I will never break the chains.
The Simple Gospel, which starts with the revelation of our sin and the need for a supernatural Savior is our greatest need. True “repentance” recognizes sin; turns to receive the gift of love from the Father-Jesus His only Son- is where freedom begins.
Next week the emphasis will be on the gift of receiving grace that can never be taken away from us. But I don’t want to look over the fact that we will battle sin until we see Jesus in eternity. Yet, the Father has given us the “gift” of the Holy Spirit to live in our souls to continue to expose our sin so that we can turn from it in order to experience walking in freedom.
That night a group of men, on their knees, encountered the gift of seeing their sin, confessing it. Yet, we are not left in our sin as the Father has given us victorious freedom through Jesus Christ who has completely forgiven all our sins and tightly wraps His loving arms around His beloved children. There is nothing greater!
Maybe as you read this Holy Spirit is speaking to you about your sin. I encourage you to listen, confess, and run back to the arms your Abba Father in Christ, receive the gift!
“If we boast that we have no sin, we’re only fooling ourselves and are strangers to the truth. But if we freely admit our sins when His light uncovers them, He will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and He will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9).