These weekly exhortations are intended to embolden and encourage you to resist sin. As it says in Hebrews 3: “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” We see that sin hardens us. It curves us in on ourselves and makes us cold and calloused to God and our neighbor. Conversely, exhortations soften us. They expose the poison in our souls in order to humble us.
Our world has foolishly reversed this. Our world blames exhortations for hardening people. This is why the most often quoted Bible passage today is, “Judge not.” In a world that teaches everyone to look inward, find their true authentic self, and embrace it, an exhortation is seen as a cruel and traumatizing act.
And while it is true that exhortations can be given in a cold and calloused way, the basic fact of Scripture is that sin hardens us ,and exhortations are intended by God to wake us up to the destructive reality of sin, and to soften us to his grace and mercy.
So, hear the Word of God. Sin is evil and foolish. It’s unprofitable and deceitful. Sin loves to blame others and refuse responsibility. Sin finds a way to be miserable at the joy of others. Sin justifies and defends itself. Sin makes excuses and hides from the light. Sin doesn’t mind coming to church so long as you don’t confess it. Sin condemns others and it condemns you.
Sin is not your friend, it’s your enemy. God is your friend, and because he is your friend, he is the great enemy of your sin. And if you will uncover your sins to him, he will graciously cover them all in the blood of Christ.
We pray that sin might be shown to be sin to us and appear in its own true colors. Keep sin from hardening us. We don’t want to be cold and calloused, self-absorbed people.
We know that your Word is true, so we pray that these exhortations would soften and humble us. Open us up to receive your grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. So, Father, hear us now as we confess our individual sins to you in silence. Receive our prayers.
In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Romans 8:1
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.