After the introduction to this Letter to the Romans, the rest of the first five chapters have been directed towards people who may still be in an unsaved condition. It is to be granted that this was written to a church, but it was a church with which Paul was not familiar. He had to assume that there could have been lost people amongst the saved; tares among the wheat. And even if he was wrong, there was no harm in teaching the saints about the rudiments of their salvation. This is what we are doing by studying this letter.

With chapter 6 Paul’s point of view changes from the unsaved to the true believer. But just because someone is a child of God, that doesn’t mean that the sin problem has been eradicated. Saints are mere sinners saved by the grace of God and set apart to the Lord’s glory. And as long as we remain in this mortal flesh, we will have to deal with our sin natures.

As I think about it, there are at least seven different kinds of sinners in this world today. For example, there are sinners who are incapable of knowing that they are sinners. That seven-month old child is a sinner by birth, and so are the mentally retarded thirty-year-olds. But neither of them may have the capacity of understanding their condition or a gospel message. Thank God that the Lord has an often used special grace for these people. Despite the fact that ordinarily we conclude that a man is justified by faith, it is still the grace of God which saves, and God can save any or all of those who are incapable of faith and repentance. Neither you nor I can successfully argue either the loss or the salvation of such people. The second kind of sinner are those who don’t know that they sinners, but who could and should. This might be Hottentot in Africa, or the child of Baptist parents who is still untaught in the gospel. Then there are sinners who are sinners, but just don’t care what they are. This would be the apostates, the Absaloms, Jezebels and Ahabs, and so many children of Christians. There sinners who realize – and do care – about their condition, trying to live morally, but who always fail. Fifth, there a sinners who are redeemed by the saving grace of Almighty God. But they are saved so as by fire, like the thief on the cross. These people are truly redeemed, but they never really shed their filthy coats. Maybe they haven’t had time to learn which of their actions are sin. Maybe they haven’t had the burning desire to learn. They are a shame to cause of Christ. Then there are those sinners who are true saints, and when they sin again, they get thoroughly upset. Finally there are those sinners who are temporarily victorious, until they slip back into sin-position six. There is also an eighth group – those sinners who have gone to be with Christ, never to sin again.

My message, I hope, will be applicable to all of the first seven of these classes. But primarily I’m thinking about the sixth group – those who sin, but hate it. Okay, so you’ve sinned again; you’ve shamed the Saviour; you’ve broken the will of the Lord. There is a sense in which you’ve also broken the heart of God. You are miserable. You are mortified. You are melancholy. Praise the Lord – that is exactly where you are supposed to be. Your sin is filth; it is spiritual puss; it is mutiny; it is spiritual atomic waste. If you continue in your sin, you’re not fit to call yourself a child God. You should return to your father saying,“Lord, let me be as one thy hired servants for I am no more worthy to called thy son.” “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!”

Okay, you’ve sinned. Now what?

Be assured that God understands.
Was not the Eternal Son of God “tempted in all points like as we are?” He was tempted with flesh, tempted with eyes, and tempted even beyond most us – directly by Satan. I know that He could not have sinned if wanted to, because He is impeccable. But the fact is, He knows explicitly what sin is, and undoubtedly He knows it better than we do. “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood struggling against sin.” Christ on the other hand, “bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.” And the Omniscient One has been watching sin destroy people for over 6,000 years. It’s not that He learned about sin by experience and observation; I’m just saying that, as God, He is thoroughly familiar with it. He saw it cripple and corrupt righteous Lot, and eat away King Saul like a cancer. The Lord viewed it in Abraham’s life and witnessed it destroy the family of David. Eli’s sons died because of sin, Peter bowed before it, and Jonah nearly drowned because of it. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and yet he sinned against God. The Lord knows what it is when you sin against Him. But He must judge it, each and every sin – from sins like not telling truth to murder. And “the wages of sin is death,” without slightest exception. If you die without the blood fo Jesus Christ sprinkled on your soul, you shall die the second death. In other words, you shall be cast into the fire which never shall be quenched. “Those whose names were not written in the Lamb’s book life shall be cast into the lake of fire.” But Christian, when you sin, remember that it’s like another nail hand of Saviour. Jesus Christ suffered on your behalf, His blood was sprinkled at the foot of the altar as your substitute. How can you possibly go on in your filthiness? Your rebellion? Your sin?

God understands your weakness, but He must, must, MUST judge sin, either in you or Christ your Substitute.

OK, you’ve sinned again; that should remind you of your weakness before sin and temptation.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen in this battle against ungodliness. Like Saul and Jonathan at the crest of Mt. Gilboa. There some well-known burial places in world such as Arlington National Cemetery. There are some great men and national heros, who have been buried at Arlington. In some cases people can visit and read their names. And there some names written here too, of great men that have fallen to sin. I’ve already mentioned David, Peter, and Abraham. We could add people like Samson, Adam, the unbelieving disciples, and so on.

When the Shuttle Columbia was destroyed, it broke hearts around the world. And there are millions of people who still grieve over the death of Princess Diana. I am reading a book which has mentioned the assassination of John F. Kennedy several times. What was it that took the lives of those people on the Space Shuttle Columbia – a simple o-ring. What killed the people on the Space Shuttle Challenger – a few defective, or missing, ceramic tiles. Everyone us have our o-rings, our weaknesses, and our missing tiles which Satan can exploit. He knows our weakest links and our dangerous chinks. Who are we to resist Satan and gain the victory? You’re nobody! “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation. the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Your latest sin, recurring sin, abominable sin – should remind you of your weakness.

And it should thus tenderize that obstinate heart of yours.
Have you ever accidentally hurt someone that was precious to you? If that person was completely innocent and helpless, it makes us feel even worse. Have ever dropped a baby for example, hearing its screams and imagining its fear and pain? I remember when Jackie was very small and still learning to walk, one of us was holding her hand, when she dropped herself and together we dislocated her elbow. It hurts us because of the love we have for that child.

Let me remind you that “greater love hath no man than this than that (Christ Jesus) man lay down his life for his friends.” In other words, there is no greater love found upon this sin-cursed planet than the love which Christ has for His redeemed. How can we possibly sin against a love that expressed itself in such pain? There is a sense in which Christ sometimes keeps Himself from catching you as you choose to curse His name, or as you blow up in uncontrollable anger. He is an innocent party, but you cut him to the heart with your knife of sin. Oh, how can He love me so?

Your sin ought to tenderize your heart before the Redeemer. Look at Peter standing before the fire in the courtyard of Christ’s enemy. He’s warming himself, lying, cursing, denying, compromising, and swearing. Unexpectedly the Saviour glances in Peter’s direction, and their eyes meet for just a moment. Then listen to the heart rending sobs of the fallen preacher. He is ready to tear out his own soul and offer it on brazen altar. He may even be at the brink of suicide. But why? It was unnecessary! The tender, repentant heart is the only sacrifice that Jesus wants from the Christian sinner. “Peter, do you love me? Feed my sheep.” Look at David’s hideous sin on the roof of his house and privacy of his bed-room. Look at the lives that were lost because of his wretchedness. But listen to the broken heart of the man of God. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”

Does your sin tenderize your heart? No? Well, then let me ask if you are truly a Child of the sin-forgiving God? Something is very seriously wrong if your sin doesn’t plague you. Is there really any proof in your life that you have been redeemed?

Okay, so you’ve sinned, now God can once again shine forth in His greatest attributes.
When Korah chose to rebel against the concise commands of God, the earth opened up and swallowed him down. When Nadab and Abihu made their own rules of religious engagement, God’s attribute of holiness reached down and devoured them. When Uzzah reached out with a filthy hand to touch Ark of the Covenant, the Lord touched back. Lot paid for his sin, Jonah paid, Jehoshaphat paid, and Samson paid.

Brethren, it’s a dangerous thing to fall into the hands of an angry God. God’s holiness and justice can be seen when people choose sin over righteousness. Even the church in Corinth was filled with death because of the sins its members.

Thank God, however, there are other attributes in the arsenal of Jehovah. Our Scripture from this morning says that where sin abounds there, as well, does God’s grace abound. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That is a mighty verse, and one that has comforted thousands of God’s people. But there are some conditions attached – one specifically is that we “confess” our sin.

Okay you’ve sinned – You, in utter weakness, have fallen once again before Satan. You have succumbed to the lust of flesh perhaps, or the lust of the eyes, or the pride life. And that sin has some how been brought to your attention. But has your heart been softened by your experience? Or are hard or pleased and proud? If your heart is right, then you may with grace, confess your sin directly to the Lord. Withhold that confession, or confess without a repentant heart, and you will end up like another Achan – stoned by will of God.

So you’ve sinned again. What are you going to do about it?