Take Christ seriously. Yes, of course. For every look at your sin, take ten looks at Christ. But will you want to look at Christ if you have not seen your need? Will you see your need if you have not seen your sin?
Why is the Son of God taken for granted in the visible church today? Only because sin is taken lightly. The rediscovery of the glory of Christ’s salvation is our most pressing need. The most mature man of God needs a fresh vision of Jesus Christ so that he cries out, “Hallelujah! What a Savior!” This is the mark of a growing and a revived congregation, and that fullness of the Spirit as He glorifies the Son comes in large part by means of a conviction of our sin and a realization of our need of this glorious Deliverer from sin’s dominion, perversity, and condemnation. So, young Christian, take sin seriously.
See how sin smashes in pieces the law of God. Two tables with safe, good, holy, just, spiritual, and profitable rules—sin dashes them down and destroys both tablets. Is that an insignificant action? To disdain and destroy the holy law of God, the summary of God’s nature and perfections?
God did not restrain one stroke of His rod of justice in displaying how worthy of condemnation sin is.
See how sin looks coldly at the character of our Creator, the Maker of all that is majestic, glorious, beautiful, and excellent. It pours contempt on Him. Look at the scariest creatures in the world and imagine that they are honing in on you. Yet none of those creatures naturally hates God. Only sin—your sin and mine—despises and rejects God.
See how sin lies under the warnings of the living God. God hates all that is a contradiction of His nature. All that is mean, sly, cruel, egotistical, idolatrous, greedy, and lustful is disdained by the thrice-holy Lord. Everything in heaven and in the heaven of heavens, the angels and seraphim, the spirits of just men made perfect, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one in all their righteous anger and fury aimed at the head of sin, and are we going to go on being indifferent to it? One day, by grace, we shall loathe it as they do.
See the consequences of sin. Consider the rich man in Jesus’ story and the great gulf fixed between him and the blessedness of those in heaven (Luke 16:19–31). He longs for deliverance, but he cannot ever leave that place. One drop of water is all he asks for, but he can never have it. What has brought him there, this wealthy man who had everything, this son of pride? What has joined him to many more who for years resolutely walked the broad way and refused every offer of mercy and disdained Christ the Redeemer? It was sin, that same sin that fills the graveyards with your dead and causes the smoke from their burning bodies to ascend from the chimneys of every crematorium. The wages of sin is death—physical death in this world and the horrific second death in the world to come.
See the judgment of sin that fell on the Lord Jesus on Golgotha. What do the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit think of sin? Consider the end of the Son whom God the Father loves. There is no father more loving than the Father and no son more beloved than the Son. Yet, the Son bore our sins in His own body on the cross. The Son of God became the Lamb of God. He who knew no sin was made sin for us. But God the Father did not spare Him. There could not be a gram of compromise as far as sin was concerned. God did not restrain one stroke of His rod of justice in displaying how worthy of condemnation sin is. It pleased the Father to strike Christ dead. The Father lifted up His rod, and Christ took it on Himself—in our place.
All this indicates the seriousness with which God views sin, and how inexpressible is all that God endured in order for pathetic folk like us to be delivered from iniquity. And you can shrug? You can nod and yet carry on sinning in deed and word and attitude and omission?
Unbeliever, Jesus Christ is everything sinners need. He can satisfy all your desires and can snap those mighty chains that attach you to sin. Christian, young and old alike, put to death remaining sin. Strangle it and give it not a breath. Starve it. Refuse to feed it with a single tidbit. Take sin seriously because you take the righteousness and blood of Christ seriously.
Rev. Geoffrey Thomas is senior minister of Alfred Place Baptist Church in Aberystwyth, Wales. He is also visiting professor of historical theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and associate editor of Banner of Truth magazine.