Mercy for Our Sins

Gary Wilkerson

One time, a pastor friend of mine traveled up to Wyoming to go snowmobiling with two of his friends. They went back-country and were having a grand old time until they started to realize that all their landmarks were out of sight. They had no GPS signal and no compass.

Now this wasn’t the kind of lost where you just keep wandering until you find a road one or two hours later. This was the kind of lost where you spend the night huddled by a snowmobile with no gas left. This was a they’re-sending-in-helicopters-to-save-you kind of lost.

The very definition of becoming truly lost is not knowing the way back. At that point, you need a rescue party. Sometimes we forget that when we start talking about sin, and this isn’t just talking about before we were saved, when we were still dead in our sins, as the Bible puts it. This is the flesh that we all struggle against. This is the creeping coldness in our hearts, the drift that we experience in life. 

Sometimes when we sin, we fall in the Old Covenant mentality, thinking that God is there to smite us for our faltering and that we have make a payment of our own for our sins. This mentality is rooted in how we have to observe the law in order to earn our way back into the Lord’s good graces. This brings up fear. “Oh no, I’ve stumbled, so now it’ll be curses and rebukes for me. God’s going to put me on the sidelines for a while now.”

This contradicts what the apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We need a Savior, and we never stop needing him.