My sins before God

Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, medieval illustration from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg, 12th century

O God, … wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

The Son of God … loved me and gave himself for me.

Psalm 51:1.2; Galatians 2:20.

The idea that people can sin against God is being overlooked more and more. It does not even affect the conscience of many. It is often asserted that evil begins when people wrong others. This, however, is not what the Bible, the exclusive divine standard, teaches. What precisely does it state?

“God is light” (1 John 1:5). He is holy, just and cannot tolerate evil (cf. Habakkuk 1:13). A simple lie or a jealous thought show me that I am by nature a sinner. This nature called “sin” is passed on from one generation to the next. “As through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, … thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). I have therefore been a sinner since my birth, and I must accept that through my wrongdoings and my disobedience towards God I sin. I truly deserve His judgment and condemnation.

Nevertheless, the Bible also tells me: “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He abhors sin, but He loves the sinners and has prepared a means to save me. Out of love Jesus bore the judgment I deserved in my stead. On the cross Jesus, the only righteous Man, was laden with all my depravity. He endured God’s wrath over sin during the three hours of darkness of the crucifixion. Now I have the assurance that God has cast all my sins behind His back (cf. Isaiah 38:17).

Image: By Herrad of Landsberg – Hortus Deliciarum, Public Domain,