A Singular Sin

This past summer, I taught a class at church on the grace of God using Jerry Bridge’s book, “Transforming Grace.” The title is appropriate because what I learned while preparing for the class was life altering.

Let’s talk about sin.

You can hardly talk about God’s grace and not talk about our sin. Oh, there’s plenty more to grace than just covering our sin, but that’s where we’re going to go today.

I’m going to go out on a limb, here, and say if you’re reading this, you’re a good person. A morally upright, kind, generous person who doesn’t murder or steal or throw orgies or any of that. (And if you do murder or steal or throw orgies or any of that, you really need to keep reading!) I don’t know about you, but I can feel pretty good about myself when I compare my relatively minor sins to the greater sins of others.

But… Romans 3:23

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. {NLT}

Jesus is the standard and when we compare ourselves to Jesus, we fall woefully short.

Every single soul on earth is totally and completely spiritually bankrupt without Christ. While we are unique in how we sin, or how we struggle with our sins, we all require the same amount of grace from God. His grace does not make up our deficiencies. Like Mother Theresa only needs a little bit of grace, but Saddam Hussein needs a lot more grace. No. We are, each one of us, wholly deficient.

This was really hard for me to wrap my head around because dang it, I’m a good person! Don’t tell me that I’m no different than a brutal tyrant. Sure, I struggle with pride sometimes, or maybe tell little white lies here or there, but I’m not a bad person. I’m not evil like, say, Manson or Dahmer. (I do believe God’s heart breaks when innocent people are hurt by the heinous actions of others more so than when I silently judge someone.)

But, the fact remains, sin – plain and simple – is ugly to God.

I finally came up with an illustration that is helpful to me, so maybe it will be to you as well.

I do a little website design with a splash of graphic design thrown in, and I use hexadecimal color code all the time. To put it simply, it’s code that the computer translates into color. For example, the color of the Grace & Such logo is #87aaae.

And if I change just one number or letter, the color changes.

We often use the terms light and dark to talk about good and bad, right? So if our sin nature is black, its hex code is #000000. That is as black as you can go. There is no light, no hue, no tint. It doesn’t get any darker. All sin carries this hex code.

My sin. Your sin. Hitler’s sin.

Because of this, not one single person deserves grace. We all deserve hell.

But God…

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. ~Ephesians 2:4-5 {NIV}

Because of God’s grace, when we are saved He sees our hex code as #ffffff. Pure white.

No variation, no tint, just pure white.

Regardless of how wretched or how okay we thought we were, we all go from pure black to pure white. It’s the same amount of change – not more for some people and less for others.

And here’s the really amazing thing! Once our hex code is changed, that’s it! We take on the righteousness of Jesus, so all God sees is pure white.

There is nothing we can do to make it any whiter. So often we beat ourselves up because we’re not praying enough, not reading our Bible enough, we’re skipping church – the list can be long. And those are vital practices to know God the way He wants to be known. But no matter how many good deeds we do or how often we pray or how well we know our Bible, our color code will never get any whiter.

Even better, there is nothing we can do to make it less white. When we forget to pray or don’t take time to read our Bible or slide back into some old sin, it’s still that pure white.

This isn’t a reason or excuse to go crazy and up your sin game. Paul talks a lot about that in Romans (check out chapter 6 if you want to read more about it).  But what freedom there is to know we aren’t disappointing God or, worse, losing our salvation when we mess up!

There’s so much more to God’s grace than just this. The more I learn about it, the more I realize just how truly amazing it is. Do yourself a favor and get the book. You will be so glad you did.

We may be unique individuals, but because He loves us, we have all received grace in place of grace already given. (John 1:16 NIV)

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Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Jennifer Mobley Thompson
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  1. Diane Karchner on October 10, 2019 at 9:02 AM

    I got the book, and am working my way through it. It’s not a hard book if you just want to skim through it and say you read it (I do that often…!!). But this book, this topic, gave me such pause. Grace is so big and covers so much of our lives as believers that we rarely grasp its enormity, Thanks for throwing this book my way. I am cherishing each learning I draw from it!

  2. Cole Smith on October 12, 2019 at 10:17 AM

    I am *so* excited you used the hex code, hahaha.

    I’ve been a fan of Ray Comfort for some years but just recently started watching some of his newer videos and his method of speaking to people’s conscience about sin is so striking. We often shy away from talking about sin, especially to unbelievers, but it can be so damaging. If God is love, why do tragedies happen? What kind of loving God could allow this suffering? People to reject the idea of God. But when we put sin in its context, suddenly we understand suffering. Then we recognize God for who He is. Loving, yes, but also oh, so holy. For Him to immerse Himself into the suffering caused by sin, to endure the most selfish betrayals, and the worst kind of death … that’s who He is. Watch the light come on in people’s eyes in those videos. \o /

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