Guest Article: “I Have Sinned”

“I Have Sinned” by Joshua Gulley

Recently a student at a public high school was sent into the hallway to correct some questions on a test he failed in order to recover some credit. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the student stepped into the restroom with a cigarette lighter and a marijuana pipe. With unfortunate timing (for the student) another teacher stepped out of class to use the restroom and noticed an odd smell as he opened his door. He walked into the bathroom and saw the student, who, interestingly, did not even take the precaution of going into the stall. Instead, he was lighting up in the middle of the bathroom, disdaining the probabilities of being seen. As the student followed the teacher out of the bathroom, he threw the incriminating evidence into the hallway trash can (which the teacher quickly retrieved), and with an air of false pride and anger at what he perceived to be injustice, said, “That wasn’t even mine!” He evidently thought he should be counted innocent because the materials did not belong to him.

This occurrence revealed a couple of things to me about the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden. First, Eve either refused to believe that she would be held accountable for eating the forbidden fruit, or she was so tempted by the possibility of pleasure that she chose not to think about it. We too forget on occasion that “all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Were we to think matters through thoroughly, we would make wiser choices. Secondly, much the way a defense lawyer tries to direct the jury’s attention away from the evidence and towards circumstances that cast doubt on the defendant’s guilt, we too attempt to justify our sin by comparing it to others who commit “greater sins” or shift the blame to someone else who may have been involved in our crime. The sooner we learn to follow in the footsteps of those who were man enough to say, “I have sinned” (Achan, Joshua 7:20; Saul, 1 Samuel 26:21; David, 2 Samuel 12:13; Solomon, 1 Kings 8:47-48; Daniel, Daniel 9:4-5), the sooner we will find the strength to resist the temptations to which we most often succumb.

A few of the examples listed in the parentheses do not have happy endings and therefore may seem like poor examples to emulate. It must be remembered that sin always has consequences, and that we are not here discussing the proper response to the temptation, but rather the proper course of action to pursue after the wrong choice has already been made. The least (and perhaps the most) that can be said for men like Achan, Saul and David is that they accepted 100% of the responsibility for their sins. They didn’t pass the buck to someone else or try to justify their actions. They just plain admitted they were wrong. They “faced the music” as is often said. Might we learn to do the same, especially in view of the promise made in 1 John 1:9—“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Praise God!

Josh is a teacher of music at the High School level and a teacher of the Bible for the church at his home congregation in Smithville, TN. 

#achan, #adam-and-eve, #christianity, #david, #god, #guest-article, #public-confession-of-sin, #repentance, #saul, #sin

Saul of Tarsus

I believe Saul of Tarsus to be the most striking example of conversion in the New Testament.

He clearly did not believe Jesus as the Christ. We are allowed, by inspiration, to look into Saul’s mind. The account says, “Saul still breathing threats and murder,” (Acts 9:1 ESV). Literally, Saul was threatening and murdering Christians with every breath he took. That shows his mind. He was 100 percent against Jesus.

But something happened to change that. That something was seeing the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus. Seeing Christ alive after Saul knew he had been crucified made an indelible impression on him. The text says, “And immediately he (Saul) proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God,” (Acts 9:20).

The change wasn’t temporary; it was lifelong. People will sometimes have a “change of heart” when they become afraid or threatened with eternal punishment. Saul, however, repented and remained a faithful child of God even though he was beaten, left for dead and imprisoned (2 Corinthians 11:24).

I thank God he included Saul in the scriptures as an example of conversion. Saul’s obedience strengthens my own faith and resolve and reassures me because of what he had seen and done.

#conversion, #obedience, #saul

Striking conversion story

For me, the most striking story of conversion is that of Saul/Paul. As soon as he realized what he had done, he asked, “Lord, what wilt thou have me do?” He was required to give everything up for Christ: friends, political/religious standing, safety. Everything. And he did not hesitate. He did not look back. He only looked forward, keeping his eyes on the mark. And his example of repentance is unparalleled: he devoted his life from that point forward to converting people to Christ, rather than killing His followers. If only we could be like Paul!

#conversion, #conversion-stories, #nudge, #paul, #saul

My favorite story of conversion is Saul…

My favorite story of conversion is Saul’s. The account is found in Acts 9, 22 and 26. His conversion is chock full of gold nuggets. For example, there’s Saul’s 180-degree turn from his zeal for Judaism to his zeal for Christ. If the gospel weren’t true, then why would Saul have completely changed from imprisoning and killing Christians to becoming one himself? There is the example of Ananias, who was guilty of believing everything he heard (see Randal Matheny’s great article on this one). There is the comment of Jesus, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads,” (Acts 22:14 ESV). Saul is an example of repentance, obedience, committment, faithfulness through suffering, etc, etc. Hey, this might be a pretty good sermon. Thanks for the nudge!

#conversion, #paul, #saul

My Sermons Yesterday

I preached on the coming Messiah in prophecy in the Old Testament and their fulfillment in the New Testament. I have articles coming from this sermon starting tomorrow. I also spoke on Saul’s refusal to kill King Agag and its relation to our postmodern age.

#christ, #king, #prophecy, #saul, #sermon