It’s countercultural today to talk about sin. Let’s face it: the topic of sin is offensive. In fact, we were ministering in Canada in October through a dramatic presentation of the Roman Road, which of course includes Romans 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. A mother of one of the children immediately took her son out of the presentation at this point because she didn’t want him to hear that he was a sinner. To be labeled a “sinner” is offensive. I’m sure your brow furrowed the first few times you were told this gospel truth as well.
There’s a lot of pressure today to ignore sin, but if Christ is to be the center of our worship, we must talk about sin because that’s the very thing He came to save us from. He died to free us of our sin and its penalty. The good news of Jesus Christ is the good news that “Oh happy day! When Jesus washed my sins away!”
Although Jesus has indeed washed the stain of sin away for all who believe on Him, we nevertheless sin. Therefore, biblical worship has to constantly have a sin-forsaking aspect to it. As we come into the presence of God in worship, we recognize that He is holy, and we are not. It’s sort of like the time I fixed a water leak under a home. It was dark under there, but the closer I got to the light as I climbed out, the dirtier I realized I was. In fact, I was downright filthy! Coming into the presence of God in worship should have that very same effect.
We see the sin-forsaking aspect of worship so clearly demonstrated in Isaiah 6:1-8. The closer Isaiah got to God, the more he realized his filth and the more he realized his need to be cleansed. We read:
- In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Isaiah came into the light of God’s presence and immediately saw his sinfulness. His response wasn’t, “Ah, no big deal.” His response was “Woe is me, the sinner!”
Friend, to worship God is to forsake sin. That’s why regular church gatherings for worship are so important. We need regular maintenance where we intentionally come into the light of God’s presence so that sin is brought into the light. Yes, you are always in the presence of God, but you are especially mindful of God’s presence at a worship gathering. As you come into the presence of God, get ready to be convicted of your sin. That’s a good thing! And then forsake it. Turn from it, abandon it, desert it, renounce it, relinquish it, turn your back on it, leave it. FORSAKE SIN!
That’s an essential part of worship.
Links to previous posts in this series: