Tim Challies does a great job of piggybacking off of Jonathan Edwards’ concern with revivalist professions of faith and understanding the difference between sinning and being a sinner here. Much of his article resonated with me, and he writes it much better than I can, so give him props and read it yourself over yonder. The part that stood out to me is a paragraph explaining the fundamental truth of total or radical depravity that is evident in our sinful nature and seemingly missing from much of Christianity today:
I have met countless people who consider themselves Christians and who admit to sin in their lives and feel guilt and remorse for individual sins, but who seem unable or unwilling to admit the incontrovertible fact that their hearts are in rebellion against God. The Bible tells us in plain terms that we are not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners. And I don’t think we can overstate what a fundamental difference this is! We do not need to seek forgiveness merely for the sins we commit, but for our fundamentally evil and rebellious hearts—hearts that, in their natural state, hate God and are fully and completely and gleefully and willingly opposed to Him.
How can we understand the grace and mercy of God if we can’t understand the wrath of God that we justly deserve as sinful creatures? The truth of the gospel is not only love and grace, but a realization of our standing with God and need for reconciliation to God: “Only when we see ourselves as sinners can we truly see Christ as Savior. Only when we have identified ourselves as fallen in Adam can we truly and properly identify ourselves as raised up and set apart in Christ” (Challies).
Lord, forgive me for my rebellious heart toward you even today. Thank you for your mercy and love shown to me in bringing me to yourself while my heart was still far from you.