His Mercy is More

The Puritan Richard Sibbes once wrote, “There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us.” For some, that is incredibly hard to believe because we think that Christ is far too distant for us. We live in the shame of our sin and therefore, thinking that we know the extent of our depravity, that Christ wants nothing to do with us. We are far too unclean, too guilty, have too large of record, and are accustomed to constant rejection from others.

Yet, we must remember that the Son of God, Christ Jesus, stepped into the depravity of this world through his incarnation, and lived among wretches. Christ draws near to the sinner, inviting them to dine with him at his table so, in that closeness, they would be made whole.

Jesus is looking for sinners, that is why he came. In Mark 2:13-17, as Jesus was eating with tax collectors (the absolute dregs of Jewish society) and others, he was challenged by the religious leaders who were appalled that a Jewish Rabbi would ever dare to set foot in a sinner’s home, let alone share a meal. Jesus replies in Mark 2:17, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

People error when they think that they must clean themselves up before ever coming fully to Christ. But it is Jesus who cleanses because he is the only one that has the power to do it effectually. We can try to change our behavior and have some marginal success or, attempt to “turn over a new leaf” but to deal with the radicalness of our sin and bring about true change, that can only come from Christ. Think of us as lepers, our bodies diseased and decaying. Yes, we can put on ointment and bandage our open wounds but due to the spread of the disease and the pervasiveness of the decay, our efforts have very little effect. Yet, here walks Christ who is the Great Physician, and we turn to him and say, “Will you make me clean?” Moved with compassion and without one shred of disgust toward us, Christ replies “I will; be clean” (Mk. 2:41). That simple act of turning from the corruption and decay of our sin to Jesus in repentance and faith is all one has to do to experience the mercy of Jesus and the salvation he brings.

What about those who have received salvation by faith and feel as if Christ is against them because they have sinned? Indeed, believers who are still plagued with the fallenness of this world will sin. The idea of “Sinless Perfectionism” is not only unbiblical but frankly untenable. None of us can love God or our neighbor perfectly as the Law demands and therefore as long as we are in this world, we will fall short. When a Christian sins, their conscience is pricked and due to the softness of their heart by the work of the Holy Spirit, they mourn over it. However, in that grief over our sin, we can easily fall into despair and believe the lie of the Devil that we have been cut off from God, forever condemned.

Believers who struggle with assurance have, on one hand, an appropriate view of sin. Sin is deadly, ruinous for the soul, and corrupts everything it touches. Yet, on the other hand, they fail to fully see Christ, in all his redemptive work.

To those struggling with sin, the worst thing you can do is run from Jesus. Instead, turn to him all the more and draw near because he will draw near to you (Jas. 4:8).

Your sin is great, make no doubt about that, but Christ’s mercy is more.


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