Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”? – Proverbs 20:9
Proverbs has quite a bit to say about sin and the removal of sin. The proverb above seeks to bring self-awareness to the wise person, who is also righteous and may sometimes be tempted to be self-righteous. Do you see yourself as a sinner?
Romans 3:10, “None is righteous, no, not one”
Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
It is easy to see the sins of other people. Sin is all around us, and it’s often rather obvious to us when people are in sin. But what about our own sin? Do you perceive your own sinfulness? Jesus asks a pointed question about this in Matthew 7:3, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
We need to be honest with ourselves about our sin. Here is one of the truest statements I’ve seen about my own sin…”Looking at another sinner, I can perhaps say, ‘I haven’t done that.’ But I can’t say, ‘I couldn’t do that.'” – Ray Ortlund
The reformer Martin Luther was keenly aware of his own sin, “I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, his name is Self.”
So, let’s just start with the most basic idea: I am a sinner (nature), and I commit sin (actions). From there the path to taking care of our sin is through confession and atonement.
Proverbs 28:13, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
Not only do we need to confess our sins, but there actually has to be something that happens to take care of the sin. That something is called atonement.
“Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance.” – Proverbs 14:9. This verse references the guilt offering. A description of the guilt offering may be found in Leviticus 5:14-6:7. It’s exactly like it sounds…if you’re guilty of sin, then you must make this offering to atone for the sin. This proverb implies that an upright person practices confession of sin and seeks atonement for sin, while the fool mocks the ideas of confession and atonement.
So what is the offering that atones for our sin?
We do not measure sin by comparing one person with another, or by how good we might feel about ourselves. We measure the seriousness of sin by the price required to atone for it. Jesus, the perfect and sinless Son of God, is the atonement for our sin.
Many people have the roadblock to receiving forgiveness and atonement of sin… “I’m too messed up.” Your sin & failures do not disqualify you from salvation. They are your only qualification. That’s why Jesus came.
1 Timothy 1:15 is one of the most personally applicable and true verses in the Bible.
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”