20th Sunday After Pentecost
To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father — to Him be glory and power forever and ever. God speaks to us today from Psalm 51 verse 5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
Can you picture it? His situation is hopeless. It’s almost totally pitch black. There’s a faint, small, glimmer of a light way, way, way at the top. But there’s no way he’s going to reach it. Why? Because he’s sitting at the bottom of a pit, enclosed by a round and smooth wall all the way around him with a diameter of 20 feet wide and a mile high. Things aren’t look very good are they? Well maybe if he jumps as high as he can…nope, he gets a couple feet off the bottom and falls right back down. Well, maybe if he tries to climb up the walls…nope, they’re completely smooth and he falls back to the ground. All by himself, without the necessities of life, his future doesn’t look very good, does it?
That man sitting hopeless at the bottom of a pit is a picture of you and me by nature. We were born in the inescapable pit of sin. No, we didn’t just fall into it when we reached a certain age; the pit is the starting place for each and every human life beginning at conception. From our very conception our spiritual condition was totally lost. You see, we inherited this sinful condition from our parents, who inherited it from their parents, who inherited it…all the way down the line from our first parents Adam and Eve. As descendants from them we inherited their sin. So when we look at our text for this morning it stares us right in the face and says, “Surely I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me,” in other words, “You, are evil.” Ouch! What else can we do but cry out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).
When you were hopelessly sitting in that pit of sin, God sent Jesus, who jumped into that pit, picked you up, put you on His shoulders, and carried you out of the pit. Since we were born from sinful human beings we were born in sin. God’s justice demands that all sin be paid for, including the original sin we were born with. And so, our gracious God in incomprehensible love took it upon Himself to rescue you and me from our original lost condition. And how did He do this? The Son of God sacrificed His own life as complete payment for you! Wow!
So, when we consider the words, “Surely I was sinful from birth,” we realize that at every single instance of our lives we desperately need God’s forgiveness. But then, when we look at the whole love letter of God, the Bible, we realize that there was also not a single instance in our lives when God’s forgiveness because of Jesus was not there for us. That’s love. That’s amazing love.
So, why does God want us to know that I was “sinful from the time my mother conceived me?” What’s the point? At the very instant our lives began, in God’s eyes, we were His enemies; we were sinful, disgusting, detestable, and worthless. But what did God in His amazing love do for us, His enemies? God himself became one of us and gave up His life so we could go to the perfect mansions of heaven. God claimed you as His very own; God made you His child and His friend, God saved you. So, what’s the point? You see, the more clearly we realize what a hopeless pit we were lost in, all the more clearly we see God’s unimaginably great love for us. That He shed His own blood to pay for our sins completely.
Sometimes we hear people say, “Babies aren’t sinful,” or, “Children are so innocent.” When people say these things it sounds nice. And babies are cute and they haven’t been corrupted in the same sense as you and I have by our culture and the world around us. But, the fact is, they are just as sinful as you and me from conception. And if I don’t understand this I will actually appreciate Jesus … less. If I came into this world innocent do I really need Jesus? Not really. If I was not sinful at birth, then I wasn’t in that pit at all and didn’t actually need someone to rescue me.
But I was born in the pit. And look how much God loves me. He loved me from the very moment I became a human being. You see, if I know that I was born completely sinful I appreciate all the more that God has rescued me!
Yes, you and I were born in this world in a pit, destined to hell, and in amazing love God has rescued you. How? In His amazing love He paid the most precious price for your salvation, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed…but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). God shed His blood, paid His very own precious blood, for whom? For YOU! Yes, God bought YOU! And that was true for you from the very point you were conceived! Amen.