IN THE consideration of the two Words “our sins,” I invite you today to consider how the phrase is used through Scripture. I John 1.9. In this consideration, there are two things. I. The amount of times the phrase “our sins” appears in Scripture. II. How the phrase is used.
I. The amount of times the phrase “our sins” appears in Scripture. If you had to take a guess as to how many times the phrase “our sins” appears in Scripture, what would you say? In the Text, the phrase appears 2 times. Here is one Verse of Scripture. In this one Verse, the phrase appears twice. When you leave the Text, stand back, and look at the entire Scripture, the phrase appears 19 times.
II. How the phrase “our sins” is used in Scripture. There are many things remarkable about the 19 times the phrase “our sins” is used in Scripture. For one thing, the phrase is used 8 times in the Old Testament and 11 times in the New Testament. This by itself is extraordinary. The Old Testament is the largest section of Scripture, and yet the phrase is used the least there. The New Testament is the shortest section, and yet the phrase is used the most there. And again: the Old Testament was chiefly given to reveal sin (Numbers 5.15 & I Kings 17.18), and yet here the phrase “our sins” is not used so often. The New Testament was chiefly given to reveal Grace (John 1.17a), and yet here the phrase “our sins” is most used.
Throughout the Scripture, the phrase “our sins” is scattered all up and down. The common way is it is used one time per Book in the places it appears. To prove this, in the 19 times the phrase is used in Scripture, the phrase appears in 14 different Books of the Bible. The first time the phrase “our sins” shows up is fairly late in Scripture in I Samuel 12.19 when the Jews repenting of their sins approached the Prophet Samuel saying: “Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.” In the Old Testament, it is peculiar that in 5 out of the 8 times the phrase “our sins” is used, it is used by the godly while they are praying. For example, in Isaiah 59.12, the Prophet prays: “Our sins testify against us.” In Psalm 79.9, the Psalmist prays: “Purge away our sins for Thy Name's sake.” In the New Testament, it is peculiar that in 8 out of the 11 times the phrase “our sins” is used, it is used right beside some other phrase showing the Sweet Work JESUS did for our sins. For example, I Corinthians 15.3 says: “Christ died for our sins.” Galatians 1.4 says: “He gave Himself for our sins.” It is further significant that the one Book in Scripture where the phrase “our sins” is mentioned the most is in one of the smallest Books of the Bible. It is in this First Epistle of the Apostle John. In this single Book of only five Chapters, the phrase appears no less than five times. The unique feature of our Text is it is the only place in all Scripture where the phrase “our sins” is used more than once in one Verse.
From today's Sermon, there are four instructions. 1. The first instruction is the phrase “our sins” is spoken in Scripture. In today's Sermon, I showed that the Scripture is not silent about the phrase “our sins.” The Scripture speaks about “our sins.” The Scripture speaks about “our sins” 19 times. This by itself, as simple as it seems to be, is instructive.
Years ago, we lived in a Country in which sin was spoken about. If you did wrong, your Parents would at least speak up to you. If you did wrong at School, your Teachers would at least speak up to you. If you did wrong almost anywhere, very often, there was someone there who cared enough for you to set you straight. We were a better people as a result. In our Country today, a new idea emerges. The new idea is sin must not be spoken about. As a consequence, the morals of the Country suffer. For sin thrives in darkness. Whereas light exposes and chases away sin.
2. The second instruction: those in Scripture who speak the phrase “our sins” the most are the godly. Is not this something of a surprise? It might be first thought that those who would speak the phrase “our sins” the most would be those who are shameless in their sins. But it is not so. In today's Sermon, I showed that those who speak the phrase “our sins” the most are the godly. Which shows the ungodly do not speak about their sins. They do not care about their sins. But the godly are concerned about their sins. Being concerned about your sin is the first step to turning away from your sin.
3. The third instruction: the Scripture says “our sins” should be brought to THE LORD in Prayer. In today's Sermon, I showed that in the Old Testament, 5 out of the 8 times the phrase “our sins” is used, it is used by the godly as they are praying. This is a good example of what to do with sin. After sin has been done, what should you do? A good thing to do with sin is not to let it be—or to persist in it—or rearrange your thinking to pretend it's not there. A good thing to do with sin (and what GOD in these Scriptures says ought to be done) is to bring it to THE LORD in Prayer. Prayer is the best cure for sin. The old Puritan Dr. Leighton said: “Prayer will make you quit sin, or sin will make you quit Prayer.”
4. The fourth instruction: the Scripture sweetly reminds us what JESUS did for “our sins.” I admire how GOD speaks in the New Testament. In 8 out of the 11 times the phrase “our sins” is spoken, there is some corresponding phrase that speaks what JESUS did for our sins. “Christ died for our sins.” “He gave Himself for our sins.” “He by Himself purged our sins.” This instruction is spoken sweetly. Which is anytime your sins come to mind, do not turn a deaf ear. It is not wise to ignore conscience. Yet there's no need to despair. Nor should you think you will go to paying for your sins by your good works. Romans 3.20 says this cannot be done. But what? Anytime your sins come to mind, freshly turn your mind to what JESUS did for your sins. Take Him always as your SAVIOUR. Trust in His Work at all times as your Salvation. In this way, whenever your sins come to mind, your sins will lead you to JESUS and JESUS will bring you into peace. Amen.
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