John Newton, who penned the famous hymn "Amazing Grace" wrote near the end of his life "my memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, & that Christ is a great Savior".
Both John Newton & the apostle Paul said they were great sinners, but with a great Savior.
Though the author of this book has not committed any of the big, scandalous sins, he admits he has gossiped, spoken critically of others, harbored resentment, become impatient, acted selfishly, failed to trust God in difficult issues of life, succumbed to materialism, & let his favorite football team become an idol.
That is all sin.
Both John Newton & the apostle Paul spoke of themselves as sinners in the present tense.
The growth process involves becoming more aware of & sensitive to the sinful expressions of the flesh still dwelling within.
Christ, in His work for us & in us, saces us not only from the penalty of sin, but also from its dominion or reigning power in our lives.
The gospel is only for sinners.
The first use of the gospel is to drive a dagger into our self-righteous heart.
The second use of the gospel is to acknowledge our sin. We feel guilty because we are guilty. We cannot begin to deal with a particular manifestation of sin until we first openly acknowledge its presence & activity in our lives. But in order to make such an admission, I first need the assurance that my selfishness is forgiven-that God no longer holds it against me. The gospel gives us that assurance.
The third use of the gospel is dealing with the guilt. It energizes & motivates me to deal with my sin. To "put it to death" (rom 8:13, col 3:5) The only sin that can be successfully fought against is forgiven sin. We must first deal with the guilt.
The fourth use of the gospel is grattitude. God is no longer my judge. He is now my Heavenly Father who loves me with a self-generated, infinite love, even in the face of my sin.
The fufth use of the gospel is to put sin to death. We are COMMANDED to put sin to death.
The sixth use of the gospel is to give ourselves a daily gospel lesson. This is important part of dealing with sin in our lives. Preach the gospel to yourself every day. We need to personalize it.
There is never a day in our lives when we are so good that we dont need the gospel.
These are excerpts from "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges