Are You a Chief Sinner?

Did you need Jesus to die on the cross for you?

Are you a chief sinner?  It is no badge of honor, but it is an indication of your spiritual maturity.  Sinners know the depth of their depravity.  They understand that the gift of salvation is undeserved and is so costly, that it is impossible to obtain without the grace of our Lord.

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” Romans 5:12

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.  Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound.  But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 5:19-21

“But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

I am reminded of what happened to Moses who, in seeking water for the Israelites, struck the rock in anger, rather than speaking as God commanded (Exodus 20).  The penalty for that outburst cost him his opportunity to enter into the promised land of Canaan. God called it unbelief because Moses disobeyed Him. To us this might seem like a rather severe punishment from God.  After all, Moses was provoked. Yet, Scripture commands us not to sin in our anger.  Sin can be defined as making decisions apart from God, and contrary to His commands.  How angry to do you have to get before you sin?  Do you really believe God means what He says? 

“Be ye angry, and sin not:  let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27

“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”  1 Corinthians 4:2

Paul called himself the chief of sinners long after his meeting with the Lord on the road to Damascus.  Paul certainly was a sinner.  In fact, before he met the Lord, he single-handedly caused the death of many believers in his zealousness to stamp out the people of the Way.  Yet Paul was probably one of the most humble of men.  As Paul grew in grace and knowledge, he also came to understand the awfulness of his sin.  I am reminded by Scripture that he who has been forgiven much, loves more.  How much do you love Jesus?  More than anything or anyone else?

“Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much:  but whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” Luke 7:47

Maybe you remember Peter, the fisherman, who followed Jesus as His disciple.  He denied knowing Jesus three times!  He didn’t want anyone to know that He was His disciple, and at the crucifixion, all the disciples except John ran away in fear.  Yet, Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep.  He still had use for him, despite his betrayal.  Our Lord forgives!  Has He forgiven you?

“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”  Romans 4:7-8

Chief sinners experience tremendous sorrow.  Like the Psalmist, we find that our tears soak our bed (Psalm 6:6) because we are so burdened over the wrong we have done. We recognize that it is as if we had done it unto the Lord.  “Against thee only, have I sinned.” (Psalm 51:4) 

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of:  but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10

Rather than becoming callous to sin, we should become even more aware of sin in our lives.  Many believers assume that sin is of little consequence since they have received the gift of salvation. In their mind, because they have been forgiven–past, present, and future, they misunderstand the warring between the flesh and the spirit.  Do you continue to battle the desires of your flesh?

“For sin shall not have dominion over you:  for ye are not under the law, but under grace.  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?  God forbid.  Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”  Romans 6:14-19

Little regard is demonstrated for a grieving Holy Spirit.  It is the Spirit who works in the heart of the believer, conforming us to the image of Christ. Are you willing to be like Jesus?

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.  Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:  but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:13-14

“This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

A chief sinner knows the motives of the heart.  For it is the heart that is judged and condemned.  It is our heart that our Lord wants. 

“Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.” Psalm 58:2

“Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:  and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God:  for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.”  Joel 2:12-13

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:10

What captures your heart?  Is it growing more tender?  Are you broken-hearted over your sin? 

If you have not received the gift of salvation and forgiveness of sin through the Lord Jesus Christ, please consider making that decision, then let the Lord know of your desire by praying and asking Him to give you the gift of salvation from the penalty of your sin. Follow this model prayer…

Dear Lord,

Reveal my heart unto me.  Show me the sin that so easily besets me.  Forgive me, O Lord, for grieving you in my unbelief and disobedience.  Renew a right spirit within me, and create in me a clean, pure heart.  Draw me ever nearer to you, that I might be more like you.  I thank you for covering my sin with your blood, and ask that you would help me to be mindful always of your gift of salvation and forgiveness of sin.  Thank you for your love, grace, and mercy.  In Jesus Name, amen.

  • Originally published in April, 2006, by Linda Hull.

Linda is an inspirational writer and photographer. Her writing has been published in, Union Gospel Press, Gospel Blog, Frontline, Dollar Stretcher, Discipleship Journal - DJ Plus, At the Center magazine, Simple Joy, Cross & Quill, Hot Cars, and others. Linda's story "Stretched to My Limit" about dealing with dementia was featured in "Stolen Moments" by Elizabeth Bezant. Linda's first non-fiction book was "Homeschooling: The Modern Day One Room Schoolhouse." In it, she shares her experience as a homeschooling mom, explaining the basic principles of homeschooling for the beginner. She successfully completed her first fiction novel through Chris Baty's 2006 National Novel Writing Course (NaNoWriMo). Linda also writes inspirational articles on her Words of Encouragement Blog. Enjoy Linda's photos at Words of Encouragement Designs.

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