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Lord's Day Liturgy

Downplaying Salvation

It is always possible to downplay our sin. I’m concerned with ways professing Christians downplay, not at the moment with those who just play around.

The Corinthian church had trouble with this very issue. They apparently didn’t take their sin very seriously, not only as evidenced by saying nothing to the man who had taken his father’s wife (chapter 5), but from the beginning of the letter with their quarreling and positioning. Paul could not commend them for showing any sort of love or unity (1 Corinthians 11:17, 22), and so he warned them about eating and drinking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27).

Consider David’s response to his sin, well known to Israel in Psalm 51. After his sin with the wife of Uriah David asked for abundant mercy (1), for God to blot out his transgressions (1) and wash him thoroughly from his iniquity (2). His heart was broken and contrite, and David knew that such sacrifices were pleasing to God (17).

Yet this was not the end of David’s prayer nor the goal of his contrition or his song. He desired to be made clean, and then to “hear joy and gladness” (8), for God to “renew a right spirit” (10), for God to “restore to me the joy of your salvation and to uphold me with a willing spirit” (12). With deliverance from the God of salvation, David said “my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness” (14). He prayed, “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise” (15).

Which connects again to the point of the genealogy of Jesus. Sin ruins everything, makes a painful and sorry mess among men. And therefore Jesus came. He is the true and better Adam, the true and better King, the merciful and faithful high priest who made propitiation for the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:17).

Do spiritually mature, Christlike disciples have truer and better remorse? Do those with great faith or little faith focus on their sins from twenty years ago? Will heaven finally give us enough time to reheat old transgressions into a sorrow casserole? Isn’t this just downplaying salvation? Or when we eat the bread and drink the cup in remembrance of the Lord’s death, do we rejoice in the joy of our Savior?