The Obscuring of Christ
As Christians we are blessed beyond measure. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. We have received the riches of God’s grace. We are hidden with Christ in God, and the Son of God is our elder brother. We have the assurance that every single thing in this life without exception is working for our good. Everything that pertains to life and godliness has been given to us. We are forgiven all our sins and have Christ as our ever-present intercessor for any we shall commit. The Spirit of the Almighty God dwells within us keeping us, guiding us, assuring us, and spreading His love abroad in our hearts. He is our earnest payment until our full redemption in eternity. Until then, we know that no accusation brought against us can prevail, and nothing can ever separate us from the love of God which resides eternally in His blessed and holy Son. These are but a thumbnail sketch of all that is the present possession of the believer, not to speak of the untold joys, blessings, and privileges we shall walk in for eternity.
But while there is nothing that can remove us from our position in Christ and take from us its glorious possessions, there is a life to live now that faces complications brought on by the very real issue of sin. While the world works to ignore, deny, excuse, or even condone it, we who know Christ are in a life and death struggle against it. Sometimes we are overwhelmed, sometimes disconsolate, sometimes defeated and discouraged. Yet we can never completely surrender to sin nor turn our backs on our Savior.
But what is it that makes sin so heinous, and why should we live with such resolve to defeat it in our daily lives? To be sure, some things are obvious. Murder, adultery, rape, and theft are among those sins that are obviously wicked. Terrorists and criminals certainly deserve the wrath of God. But what can a stray look at attractive woman or an alluring man hurt. Impatience with the offenses of others, even those closest to us, is an understandable human emotion and not to be worried about so long as it does not get out of hand. And is it so wrong to want more and not be satisfied with less?
But all sin is tragic for at least one important reason. It may not be as obvious as it should be to us, but it is no less significant. All sin obscures the reality and glory of Christ. At the heart of sin is self, and at the heart of self is pride. Pride leads us to think to highly of ourselves and to little of Christ. It leads us to put ourselves first and Christ next. It leads us to wonder why we have so little or why we do not have more. Sin is about me: my expectations, my pleasure, my feelings, my desires.
When John the Baptist was approached with the rising reputation of the teacher from Nazareth, his response was immediate and instructive: “He must increase; I must decrease.” This cannot be true with any of us so long as sin is given a seat. Whatever obscures the reality and glory of our Lord to us personally and to those around us must be our enemy and given no quarter. Our purpose is to display the glory of the indwelling Christ. This is our hope (Col. 1:27), and as we behold His glory in His precious Word, we will day by day obscure Him less as we recede from view. This is what we earnestly long to do as we as we wage the battle against sin. May our Lord make it so.
In the love of Christ,