This current crisis should drive Christians and the church to mourn and repent. We should see one of our duties at the moment as mourning over our sin. In both Testaments this was often accompanied by weeping, wailing, grief, lament, fasting, putting ashes put on one’s head or a humbled posture and the wearing of sackcloth – a very itchy and course material.
Someone who mourns his sin is humble before God and fasts or wears sackcloth not in order to pay for sin like some sort of penance, but because it demonstrates that he knows he does not deserve God’s blessings.
When we experience a disaster, such as the current one, we should be prompted to consider the depth of our sin and to mourn over it. To help us to that end, here are seven reasons why should we mourn over sin. Some of these reasons were inspired by Thomas Watson’s excellent little book on The Doctrine of Repentance.
- Our sin is worse than our afflictions
The cause is worse than the effect. All of our afflictions come because of our sinfulness. If we think people dying of a disease is bad, we need to realise that sin is worse. All suffering should point us to the fact that sin is a terrible evil because it is because of sin that we live in this cursed world.
2. Our sin finds its origin in the Devil. Those who revel in sin are children of Satan. 1 John 3:8 says “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.”
3. Our sin is an offense to God
The Bible describes sin as dishonouring God (Rom 2:23), despising God (1 Sam 2:30), and cheating on God like a wife cheating on her husband (Ezek 6:9).
4. Our sin is against a kind a gracious God
God is a loving and merciful God to whom we not only owe obedience, but He deserves obedience because of His character. The goodness of God, His patience, and His common grace make it all the more heinous to sin against Him. Sin is not cheating on an abusive husband – it is cheating on the best husband you could conceive of.
5. Our sin cost Jesus great suffering
If we want to see the horror of sin, consider how great a cost it was to pay for our sin. The perfect Son of God had to suffer and die, experiencing the very wrath of God because of the evil of our sin. This suffering was so dreadful that Jesus sweat drops of blood in the garden and pleaded that the Father would take away this punishment from Him.
6. Our sin is so ingrained
As Paul considered his sin, he was overwhelmed with how thoroughly he was contaminated by it. “Who will deliver me from this body of death!” (Rom.7:24)
7. So much of our sin is wilful
How often are we consciously aware of our choice to sin? I know that frequently I am aware of being tempted and then giving in to that temptation. So often I am not sinning out of ignorance or through being falsely informed – so often I sin by choice. How this should make me mourn my sin!
I have come to realise that I rarely contemplate my sin with a view to mourning over it. I don’t feel the weight of my sin like I should. I treat my wilful rejection of God’s rule as a light thing. I move on from my devilish wickedness that took the terrible suffering and grief of the Son of God to deal with, with nothing more than a brief prayer of repentance. And so, I multiply my sin by sinning in my repentance.
As we are going through this disaster of a time – make time to mourn over your sin. Stop and contemplate its horror. Meditate on how filthy our hearts are. Look your sins straight in the face and weep over them.
Consider fasting to help you focus on your sinfulness. Pray that God would cause you to see the blackness of sin. Joel teaches us that when disaster like this comes upon us, we ought to mourn over our sin (Joel 2:12-13).
– Tom Eglinton