Letters to the Family of God
by Joe Franzone | January 11, 2024 | Pastor's Blog
January 11, 2024
Be aware of self-righteousness in every possible shape and form. Some people get as much harm from their virtues as others do from their sins.
J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
Dear friends, Happy New Year!
Proverbs 28:13 struck me in a good way as a young man. Dealing with sin in all my mixed-up ways, covering, hiding, or making proclamations that this time, things will be different, only served to stir my sinful nature, exhausting my inner person.
Then, by the grace of God, my mixed-up mind read with fresh light: whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (28:13)
No more covering up—that was the way. However, what a hard habit to break. Either I would lie to myself, denying the sin, or I would make religious boasts and claims, being very much hypocritical to conceal the sin.
The usual ploy was like a magician using a sleight of hand: I would try and do something good to cover up the bad things I had said or done. It was a mixed-up way to live. The poetry of Psalm 32 describes some of my feelings perfectly.
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away,
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night, your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Learning (and still learning) that confession and repentance were safe and needed, I acknowledged my sin to my Father in Heaven. No more covering up; it was real, raw, truthful, and because of Jesus, I was forgiven. Forgiveness felt deeply in my inner person.
We are frail and unsteady at times; at least, I am. To be human is to live amid brokenness. This is a basic teaching of Christian theology—foundational. To be human is to be fallen, to wrestle with sin and to live among sinners, to be broken among the broken, and to seek truth, forgiveness, and restoration in the hub of this reality.
Praise God when the Gospel triumphs—relationships are transformed. God does not deal with His children as our sins deserve; Christ received that punishment on our behalf according to His gracious goodness.
Come, you weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.
Come Ye Sinner Poor and Needy
I thank God for the grace of confession of sin. I thank God for the forgiveness of sin. I wholeheartedly affirm what C.S Lewis wrote many years ago. I think that if God forgives us, we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.
God bless you, dear friends, with all you need and more besides.