The Clumsy Servant
We know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
If you have a very clumsy servant and he just sits still and does nothing, then his clumsiness does not appear. If he does nothing all day he will be of little use to you, it is true, but at least he will do no damage that way. But if you say to him: “Now come along, don’t idle your time; get up and do something!” then immediately trouble begins. He knocks the chair over as he gets up, stumbles over a footstool a few paces further on, then smashes some precious dish as soon as he handles it. If you make no demands upon him his clumsiness is never noticed, but as soon as you ask him to do anything his awkwardness is at once apparent. As with us all, the demands were all right, but the man himself was all wrong! For we are all sinners by nature. The trouble is that without the law we do not know it. So long as God asks nothing of us, all seems to go well. It is when he demands of us something that the occasion is provided for a grand display of our sinfulness, “that through the commandment sin might become exceedingly sinful.”
One of the misconceptions that we hear often in our modern church world is that God accepts us as we are and then leaves us to figure out what is right or wrong. Like most of the deceptions of the devil, there is a half-truth. God loves all humanity without exception. Here’s what the Holy Spirit says through the apostle Paul:
“But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
In other words, God doesn’t wait until we become righteous to love us but His love also recognizes that we are sinners. That’s what Romans 5:8 says. As long as we are walking in darkness, like the clumsy servant, our sins aren’t obvious. Most people who are still in the prison of sin do not see its destructive nature so they continue letting it rule their lives. Paul gives a lengthy discourse about how the law-the rules of God have been used to make sin known. Let me explain. I don’t know if this has ever happened to you but there have been occasions that I’ve been on a stretch of road that there was no speed limit signs posted. Thankfully due to the technology of GPS even where there are no visible signs, we can know the speed limit for that stretch of road. In the same way, when we may not know exactly what is a sin and what isn’t, the GPS(Great Powerful Spirit) of God lights up our hearts with conviction.
Before I became a Christian, there were a lot of things that I did without any thought or feeling. However, since Christ Jesus came into my heart, and He has started me on the path to heaven, my awareness of sin and my realization of the power of my sin nature has come to light. No longer are my senses numb and the way dark. Now that the Holy Spirit has shown His light on my soul, I am intensely aware of my need of a Savior.
The deception and distortion of God’s love by the devil convinces us that there are no sins and there is no consequences for our choices and actions. He in essence pulls a blanket over the scene and only gives us a glimpse of the pleasures of sin. He tells us that we deserve it, he enhances our sinful desires, and works to convince us that it’s really not important to live by some ancient writings by obscure authors who appear to offer their opinions and at times seem to contradict each other.
“While we were still helpless [powerless to provide for our salvation], at the right time Christ died [as a substitute] for the ungodly. Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all people [no one being able to stop it or escape its power], because they all sinned. Sin was [committed] in the world before the Law [was given], but sin is not charged [against anyone] when there is no law [against it]. Yet death ruled [over mankind] from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who had not sinned as Adam did. Adam is a type of Him (Christ) who was to come [but in reverse—Adam brought destruction, Christ brought salvation]. So then as through one trespass [Adam’s sin] there resulted condemnation for all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For just as through one man’s disobedience [his failure to hear, his carelessness] the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of the one Man the many will be made righteous and acceptable to God and brought into right standing with Him. But the Law came to increase and expand [the awareness of] the trespass [by defining and unmasking sin]. But where sin increased, [God’s remarkable, gracious gift of] grace [His unmerited favor] has surpassed it and increased all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, so also grace would reign through righteousness which brings eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 5:6, 12-14, 18-21
Let’s take a moment and examine the previous verses.
First we become aware that we are powerless against sin and have no way to provide for our salvation. Only Christ can truly make us free. This is why our sin nature awareness can only be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Humans are biased. We have a tendency to make our wrongs-sins justifiable and the the wrongs-sins of others unjustifiable. As David is given the story of the farmer who took his neighbor’s only sheep, he becomes angry at the neighbor’s sin. When he is made aware of his greater sin, he cries out for mercy. That’s us. We want judgement on those who sin with things that we’ve overcome and mercy for our sinfulness.
Second, we read that sin not only affects the sinner himself but spreads its influence widely. Paul reminds us that the choice Adam made to sin- disobey God brought death not only to him but to every human born after him. And Paul says that the sentence of death “ruled even over those who had not sinned as Adam had.” Through Adam’s transgression many were “made” sinners. God didn’t and doesn’t create sinners but as soon as a baby takes his first breath, sin begins to rule over his life. All of us tend to drift downward into sin and deeper in sin and the deeper we get the more we justify our sins, even going so far as saying that “God created me this way.”
Third, we read that the “law” came not to make us guilty nor condemn us in our sins but to make us aware of them and our need of a Savior. Paul says it came to “unmask our sins” indicating that somehow our sins have been hidden from our view masquerading as something good. Scripture says that Satan has the ability to “appear as an angel of light.” That’s powerful to know that his power of deception is so strong that he can appear to speak for God. Isn’t that what he did in the Garden? So through the “law” of God, his untruths, half-truths and deceptions are unmasked and the sinner can now see the truth. We then cry out with Paul, “O wretched man that I am, Who shall deliver me from this body of sin? And heaven echoes back, “Through Christ Jesus.”
Like the clumsy servant, it is only as we begin to walk with God in His light that we can see how truly clumsy we are.
Today let the law of God bring you to your awareness of your sin. But don’t have any fear for grace will meet you and the grace of God and His love and deliverance is more powerful than the whole of sin combined. Every sin that has been committed, is being committed, and will be committed was nailed to the cross by Christ Jesus; it’s power broken and it’s guilt and stain eradicated by the blood of the Lamb of God.
Don’t hide any longer, don’t justify your sin any longer, don’t blame anyone for your sins, don’t believe that God made you in any other image other than His. Believe that you were created without any mistake and though sin may have once reigned in you, through Christ, its power has been broken and you are no longer walking in darkness but in light. It’s ok to be clumsy. It’s part of growing. But don’t sit down and die without making a try. You just might be surprised what God has planned for you.