Make no mistake about it: sin is awful. It was because of mankind’s sin that Jesus endured the torture of the cross. The One Who was without blemish and without spot sacrificed Himself in order that blemished and sin-spotted people could be redeemed from their iniquities (1 Peter 1:18,19).
Sin stains – it must be blotted out/washed away (Acts 3:19). Sin slays – the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Sin separates – it keeps the transgressors apart from the Holy One of heaven (Isaiah 59:1,2). May we never do anything to downplay how terrible sin and its consequences are.
That brings us to the title of this article. Well, have you? Have you disappointed God lately? Have you spoken rude, disrespectful words to someone? Have you been deceptive? Have you had inappropriate thoughts? Have you violated civil laws? Have you failed to carry out your duty to your spouse, other family members, or God’s people?
If a Christian proclaims, “I have no sin,” at least two things are true: (1) he is deceiving himself and (2) the truth is not in him. The Bible says so (1 John 1:8). The Bible also says this about Christians: “. . . And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins . . .” (1 John 2:1,2). So, by His mercy, God extends His hand to His children who have sinned against Him and provides them with a way to be reconciled back to Him through Jesus.
If we believe the Bible, we believe that all have sinned (Romans 3:23). At the same time, we acknowledge that, even though we are Christians and put forth our best effort, there still are occasions when we violate God’s will. We thank God for His compassion and grace as He continues to forgive us as we walk in the light and confess our sins (1 John 1:7,9). Yet, it causes us great pain to know that we disappoint our heavenly Father. It is a tough pill to swallow when we know that we disappoint our brethren in the Lord. It kills us to know that our failures disappoint our family members. We do not like the feeling of letting others down, especially God.
The way the human mind works, it often holds on to mistakes and failures more than it does successes and victories. A number of God’s saints find it difficult to forgive themselves. They know what is written in the Scriptures. They know that God keeps His word, and since He has promised to forgive them when they repent and confess their sins, they know that their sins have been taken away by the blood of Jesus and will be remembered no more (Hebrews 8:12). Still, however, they struggle to move on, keep a positive outlook, and not label themselves as “a complete failure” for disappointing the Lord again.
Do you recall what is written in Revelation 7 about a vision which John saw? He saw a great multitude before the throne in heaven and before the Lamb, “clothed with white robes” (7:9). An elder in the heavenly realm asked him, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” (7:13). Here is the answer: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7:14). Those who stand before the throne of God in robes of white are not those who lived sinless lives. The criteria for being able to stand before God in white robes is not perfection.
The white robes, a symbol of purity and victory, do not stand for people living without sin. No, they stand for people who have their sins washed by the blood of the Lamb! Some of us need to “lighten up” on ourselves and not put ourselves through mental torture every time we do something wrong. Yes, sin is horrible. Yes, our sin disappoints God. But, when we are redeemed by the blood of His Son, there is reason for joy and optimism as we contemplate the future.
King David made a mess of things. He lusted, lay with another man’s wife (adultery), tried to cover his sin, despised God’s command (2 Samuel 12:9), and committed murder by killing Bathsheba’s husband. Our sense of decency cries out, “David, how could you?!” David would have to face unpleasant consequences for his treacherous transgressions, but in his humility he admitted, “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:13). God’s prophet informed the king, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die” (12:13). Would you say that David disappointed Jehovah? Absolutely. Yet, he was able to receive forgiveness and move on with his life.
Simon Peter denied the Lord Jesus three times on the night that the Master was betrayed by Judas. How despicable! Again, we ask, “Peter how could you?!” To his credit, after his awful mistake Peter wept bitterly with godly sorrow (Luke 22:60-62), repented, and moved on with his life, later serving as a shepherd over God’s flock (1 Peter 5:1,2).
If men like David and Peter could receive forgiveness and move on with their lives to serve God faithfully, even though they had disappointed Him, so can you and I. All of us will disappoint our Maker from time to time. The key is having a heart that trusts in Him and wants to please Him in all things as we move forward in life.
— Roger D. Campbell