Don’t Forget to Wash Your Face

I tend to sin. My beliefs tell me sin is wrong. Sin offends God; it gets him steaming mad. No, seriously. Psalm 18:8 says smoke pours from nose and flames burst out of his mouth. Yet God assuages his wrath and, instead, supplies grace to us. What a bizarre existence I live. I flippantly disregard and despise God by sinning; yet he continually shows favor to me.

What gives? I fear part of the problem is that I don’t reflect on the Gospel enough. Look at what James tells us in 1:23–25:

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

Putting myself in this person’s shoes, my experience looks like this: I look into the mirror of God’s word that reflects the perfect character of Jesus. When I see my reflection in comparison to the Messiah’s reflection, I see all kinds of dirt and filth on my face. Clearly, after putting in the effort to look at a mirror (Mirror’s in James’ day were brandished bronze, so you had to put effort into seeing your appearance!) and to see my flaws, I should at least do something about it, right? It’s absurd to look into the mirror to find a big piece of cheese hanging over my left eye socket only to walk outside without taking it off. It’s absurd; and so is sin. 

Reflecting on the Gospel barricades me from the folly of sin. To ponder Jesus means to see perfection, which then causes me to see my imperfection. God’s spirit uses this to make me more like Jesus. I sin because I don’t reflect on the Gospel enough.

Look to the Gospel to find the reflection of a perfect man; mediate on him, then you will you nullify tendencies to sin. What’s the deal with the perfect law, the law of liberty? That’s for later. For now. . .  

Don’t forget to wash your face.


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