December 27 I Friday
“From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits.” —Psalm 73:7
How should we understand sin? There are four words to describe it. The first is “sin,” which means to literally not do what we should do. The word comes from archery: if we shot an arrow towards a target and missed the mark, the word used in that situation is “sin.”
The second word is “trespass,” where it is in some ways the opposite of sin. Since sin is not doing what we should do, trespass is doing what we should not do. But what are we not supposed to do? In the Old Testament, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, which all begin with “You shall not…” Some of them are big issues like murder, while some of them are petty trivial issues like coveting your neighbour’s property, greed and jealousy. When we honestly reflect on the Ten Commandments, we find that we are tempted in all of them and probably guilty of most of them.
There are certain things in life we want to do but we do not do and things we do not want to do but we do. It is a problem we all have because of the third word—iniquity. Paul tells us, “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18). Paul reveals the real issue is not what we do or do not do but who we are: something broken, disoriented and corrupted. This is why we are not sinners because we commit sin; we commit sin because we are sinners.
When sin is not doing what we should do and trespass is doing what we should not do because iniquity is the corruption within us, what do we do? We try to cover it up and pretend everything is fine. All of this is summed up in the fourth word––guile, which means to project what is “false” and some translations use the word “deceit.” The consequence of our sin is death as Paul writes, “…just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned…” (Romans 5:12).
But Jesus came to die for our sin so we may receive new life in Him. Jesus reversed the penalty of sin: “…just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:21). May we not hide in guile because of the iniquity of our sin and trespass, but know we have freedom and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for dying on the cross that took away my iniquity from sin and trespass. Take me away from living a life of guile and bring me to walk boldly in Your grace.