I have been talking with some ladies over the past couple months and together we’ve felt burdened by our sinful nature. The burden was coming from this idea that as we age, we would sin less, and not be as burdened by sin. We were expecting, that as leaders, we would be better examples of being sin free. Suddenly the weight of our sin weighed heavily on our hearts. The feeling of disgrace and shame surrounded us.
In Ezra 9, Ezra, a priest and a teacher, has just heard about the sins he’s been committing against God. He writes in verse 3-6 “When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and head, and sat down appalled… until the evening sacrifice. Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the Lord my God and prayed ‘O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens’…13: what has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins have deserved and have given us a remnant like this. Shall we again break your commands…. Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor? O Lord, God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left in this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.”
In Chapter 10 it says Ezra was praying, confessing, weeping, and throwing himself down before the house of God.
The pain from the weight of sin Ezra experiences here is so relatable isn’t it? Oh I can recall so frequently the burden of sin, the guilt, the fear, always thinking that I’m not worth God’s love. He is too righteous for me, and I am hopeless.
However, the love of God covers that. We are always forgiven through the atonement in Christ’s death and his resurrection. We are forgiven if we believe in him. Jesus died for all of our sin, which is recognized through the law.
Romans 5:20 says, “The law was added so that the trespass might increase.” Great. Now I will only be convicted of more sin. Right? However, 21 says “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
So you see, when we were young in our faith, we knew only of so many sins, and we saw only these sins that were forgiven. A pastor at my church once said that our forgiven sins are trophies of God’s grace. His grace that he gave us to cover our sins through Christ. In knowing only a small portion of our sin, we see our Trophy of Grace as only so big. It reminds me of getting a small trophy when I’m younger. I’m excited as all gettup.
However, as we grow and mature, as we begin to understand God’s heart and his desires better, we find that we keep falling short and in even more ways. Because of God’s unending love, he just keeps giving us more. “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” In our younger lives, we only understood God’s grace to be the amount of our sins, but as we realizemore and more what our sins are, the more grace we get. God’s love just keeps coming atus, and our Trophies just keep getting bigger. The amount of sin God has forgiven in my life is unbelievable. I used to carry a smaller trophy like these boys over here, now I boast in my weakness by the grace of God, because I can hardly carry my trophy anymore. Yes, we of Trophies of Grace!