Sin and Salvation; August 10, 2019

Psalm 57:6 They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves.

I can imagine David’s delight at being able to write this. There is something deeply satisfying about the tricks of evil people rebounding to their destruction. When that happens we like to pretend that “we knew it all along,” but David is honest enough to say that things really got to him before they turned around. We have a lot of trouble really trusting God when He says, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” (Deuteronomy 32:35) Paul reminds us of this in Romans 12:19, but we tend to feel it’s up to us and get all hopeless, or else we try to take things into our own hands and really make a mess of it all. We need to get it through our heads and hearts that nobody gets away with anything, period. The scary thing is, that applies to us, too! That’s why the cross and resurrection of Christ are such incredibly good news. However, they don’t sound like such good news to someone who doesn’t acknowledge their own sins and realize that they have earned hell. That’s a major reason evangelism is so tough in Japan, because it’s a shame culture rather than a sin culture. Children are told, “Don’t do that because people will laugh at you,” rather than, “Don’t do that because it’s wrong.” The word that is used for “sin” is generally synonymous with “crime,” so the general population has great difficulty seeing themselves as sinners. We all like to justify ourselves and feel we are in the right about everything, but true salvation comes when we let go of that and cast ourselves on God’s grace and mercy, knowing that Jesus died for our sins specifically, and not just in some general way. That’s why the Bible talks so much about humility: it is pride that keeps us from confessing our sins to God and receiving His forgiveness.

My massive encounter with God was all about pride. I had blinded myself to my own sin, just like the Bible says: “For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.” (Psalm 36:2) God loved me enough to break through that pride, and I couldn’t be more grateful. However, He has given me the commission to communicate the Gospel to the Japanese, and as I said, they don’t have a clear grasp of what sin is all about. That’s why American evangelistic techniques simply don’t work. They can seem to be great at first, until you discover that people are agreeing with you simply to be agreeable, and not because of any fundamental change in their heart. I am not to give up, but rather keep speaking the truth in love, allowing the Holy Spirit to use me to lay the foundation for genuine repentance and salvation. I know I’m not up to the task, but the Holy Spirit is, and I am to rejoice in that.

Father, thank You for allowing me to be a disciple, and for the disciples You have raised up and are raising up through me. I pray that we would continue to grow as Your children, Your representatives, so that this nation may see You through us and repent and believe, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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