I’m Shocked!

It’s Wednesday night and for the fourth time this week and Sally finds herself praying all too familiar of words: “Lord, forgive me for my bitterness and the way that I lashed out at my friend.” She’s frustrated that she continues to come back to this same spot. But what more can she expect? She shouldn’t be surprised that she keeps coming back to this spot—should she?

Another evening squandered on laziness. What started as a quick game on his PS4 turned into him staying up until 3:00 AM. Jim will be tired for work tomorrow. He’ll be grouchy. He’ll be wide open for depression. Not to mention the guilt that will follow him because he once again chose an evening of shooting imaginary soldiers over spending time with his real family. But what more can he expect? He shouldn’t be surprised that he—a finite sinful human being—chose a game over a relationship with his family.

I could give a ton of other examples. Some made up and a litany of examples from my own life. We sin. Daily. And even when we think that we have grown in one area we find that the remnant of sin runs much deeper than we thought. In all of this we aren’t shocked. Sin no longer shocks us.

I wonder if that’s a good thing? Is it okay that we are so at home with our depravity—knowing what the gospel says about fallen man oh so well—that we are no longer shocked by our sin.

As I think through this I’m reminded of Paul’s response to the Galatians:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel…” Galatians 1:6

Paul is absolutely astonished that they could so quickly fall away. Is there a place for this type of language in the church today? Do we allow ourselves to be shocked by our sinful turning away from Christ? Or are we so at home with our depravity that we just say, “Ah, this is what is to be expected, now run back to Jesus”.

Even the Corinthians seem to shock Paul. In 1 Corinthians 5 he is astonished that they are boasting about their loose attitude towards sin when they should have been mourning. Likewise he can’t believe that they are so ignorant in their eschatology that they would talk each other to court. Shock. Shock. Shock. It’s all over the pages of Corinthians.

I could be way off here but I have to believe that something is way off in our view of sanctification if sin no longer shocks us. After all we’ve been washed, we’ve been sanctified, we’ve been justified (1 Corinthians 6:11) and our old self has been crucified (Romans 6). When we think about everything that Christ has done on our behalf, when we consider the powerful presence of the indwelling Spirit, when we consider who we really are in Christ Jesus, then I believe we ought to be just as astonished as Paul at our failings.

And as our hearts turn to shock that we could once again fall, and once again come back to this same spot of repentance, let our hearts be even more shocked that Christ is bigger and that once again we find ourselves covered—absolutely—by His blood.

Be shocked.

Comments

  1. Dave Miller says

    I’m in Lynchburg with grandkids and will not be on the site much in the next few days. I’m going to try to check in from time to time. Likely won’t write much.

    I will check in to see if anyone has anything to post and schedule things. If everyone else us as tired as me they might not be ready to write for a day or two.

  2. Christiane says

    This thought might help to keep us humble:

    “We are sinners, but we do not know how great. He alone knows Who died for our Sins. ”
    ( John Henry Newman)

    Why ‘humility’ ?
    God gives grace to the humble . . . the ones who are filled with awe that He cares for them in their weakness.

    Proud people and the self-righteous are in awe only of themselves.

    The people broken by sin who repent
    . . . they are the ones in awe of the power of God.

    It is their humility and their great trust in Christ that allows them to pray:
    ‘Lord, I am not worthy that Thou should come under my roof,
    but only say the word, and I shall be healed’

  3. Chris Johnson says

    Mike,

    I really enjoyed this short post. It truly gets at what the church must understand.

    Typical shock in the church tends to be a “call to gossip”, instead of the example that the Apostle Paul demonstrates in the Galatian or first letter to the Corinthians. Paul is in a teaching mode, after hearing and possibly observing gross and obvious sin. His approach was a a great one, and one that is not typical of most church bodies.

    1. Paul saw or heard of the issue, and then confronts the issue (astonishment, or shock as an introduction to the confrontation), but then he goes into why the actions are foreign to the gospel, and the life of a Christian. He took time to spell it out to the folks. What he did not do, was run and get on text, phone, Facebook, or other and vent about the “shock”. Paul, most likely would have used the tools we have today much like he used his pen then, to confront and instruct.

    2. Our personal shock is really centered on who we say Christ is. The more we love Christ, the greater and more spontaneous the repentance flows. As John put it… “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” We should be shocked about that!

    Thanks for the post,
    Blessings,
    Chris

  4. says

    Thanks, Chris. Wonderful points. I’m glad that you added them to the discussion. There is certainly a way in which we can be wrongly shocked.

  5. says

    The longer I live and the more I minister to fallen men and the more I am confronted with the sin of others and my own sin, I am still shocked at sin in every form. But as you said, I am still shocked and amazed at the grace of Christ as He is still extending it daily to those who will reach out for it. What an amazing Savior we have.

    Thanks for posting this.