On recognizing my sins

Way back when I used to think that one sinned less as they matured (not necessarily “aged”): I pictured a uniform, upward slope of one’s sanctification, one’s living for God. Later I came to realize that God’s testing, life’s events, or my failures caused that upward path to be composed of hills and valleys, some of the latter very deep; thus a zig-zag graph, but still generally upward.

At the advanced age of 63, I realize how naive these representations were. I now picture my sin’s committed graph as horizontal; that is, I commit as many sins today as I did yesterday, and, as a matter of fact, as how many I committed 20, 30, or 40 years ago.

The only difference being that whereas I used to be unaware of many of my sins, now that I am more “mature” I am more sensitive to them. And hopefully I do something about them after committing them, confess, seek forgiveness.

If this is true, and I believe so, it helps better explain the lives of God’s spokesmen, those who so readily condemned their own behavior. They truly were saints, but they were able to see more of their sins, since they were closer to God. But concurrently, they also were able to appreciate God’s mercy (OT) and grace (NT) more.

If managed biblically, this mature recognition of one’s sins drives one closer to God, and that it good. It’s almost as if he had thought of that in advance–nice. Thanks Jesus.


7 Responses to “On recognizing my sins”

  1. W. Melious Says:

    My mentor, Robert Murray McCheyne, the great Scottish preacher and evangelist, once wrote in his diary “February 2 — Not a trait worth remembering! And yet these four-and-twenty hours must be accounted for”. An entry shortly before this stated “My Heart Has Not Peace. Why? Sin lieth at my door”. He was disturbed by things that most people would not even be aware of. His closeness to God opened his awareness of the expectations of God and his standing in Gods presence.

  2. Bradley Zembower Says:

    I was actually just talking to a friend about this not long ago. I remembered you discussing it in Psalms class one day. I have been experiencing this very realization in my life. The more I mature, the more I realize I am just a bum. I start out only as a small bum and with maturity comes greater knowledge of my own sinfulness (i.e. bumness). But with that comes a greater realization of God’s lovingkindness which “ought” to lead me to repentance. Ought to lead us all to repentance.

  3. Mostly I appreciate the tag “if managed Biblically” as one more important to your thesis. Perhaps without instruction my life would still be one of running away from God (as they all did in the garden) more than turning to God; but I do realize that this is still something in process. Thank you for teaching Dr. Snyder.

  4. I cannot help but be a little contrary here. First, let me say I am not a highly schooled or studied person. I am regular guy. Now, this whole sin management thing is an abomination. It is a total misrepresentation of the life we have in the Savior. We are not called to navel gaze and self-flagellate. Why do we focus on the dead guy? We are new creations. Look to the Christ. I know when I do wrong. I do not try to “manage” it. It happens, I know it was taken care of in eternity past, and I move on. The forgiveness has already taken place. As Paul asked – why are we recrucifying Christ? Forgiveness has been permanently granted. It is not conditional or provisional. You may now cast stones at me. I will put on the pointy hat and sit in the corner.

  5. Will Hall Says:

    Question. Taken as a whole, this observation seems to imply that one’s life is a sin-riddled mess cover-to-cover with moments of grace-driven triumph and moments of mercy-attenuated failure. The amount of one’s triumph and failure is asserted as independent of age and maturity, hence the observation “I now picture my sin’s committed graph as horizontal.” However, there is an assertion that may subtly counteract this observation depending upon the assertion’s interpretation. The assertion that “The only difference being that whereas I used to be unaware of many of my sins, now that I am more ‘mature’ I am more sensitive to them” could be interpreted in a number of ways. It could mean that the author was formerly blind to his sin and thought that he was mostly “fine.” It could mean that the author used to be beset by sins of which he was aware and then, upon being relieved of these struggles, encountered more subtle or brand new sins of which he was previously unaware or by which he was previously not encumbered. Though, if the sins committed graph is truly a zigging and zagging horizontal, then upon being relieved of prior sin, the author would have had to have been newly encumbered by sin or would have had to revel in existing sin more, otherwise, the sins committed graph would still be generally more toward the positive over time. Another interpretation is that moments of triumph are fleeting and the sin is much like a boomerang, which reappears time after time, though possibly in different manifestations that require a new ability for recognition of them. The author is here speaking for the community to the extent that these assertions are valid as they would likely have general applicability, and as a member of at least one community with which the author identifies, I am interested in this as many of observation resonate with me. There are likely other interpretive options, but since blogs offer the interpretive tool of communication with the author, I wonder if it could be aired out a bit more.

  6. This is a really belated reply, but I hope you find it, Dr. Snyder, as I have just found your blog. Might it not be better to say that you just never realized how very low the bottom of your slope was? That the top just keeps appearing to be as far away as it was before, but really, it is just so far away that your progress is hard to perceive? I just can’t resolve the “horizontal” line with 1 John 2:1 and 3:6-9. I can identify with noticing my sin more and more; the quantity and “quality” of it. I have also learned that growth is not becoming stronger; but rather more dependent on God’s grace.

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