Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Psa. 51:5
Our fallen sinful nature affects and pollutes everything we do. Our very best deeds are stained with sin. Even our acts of obedience fall so far short of perfection, defiled as they are by remaining sin, that they are but as “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6) when compared with the righteousness God’s Law requires.
If we limit our attention to single sins to the neglect of our sinful nature, we’ll never discover how deeply infected with sin we really are. When David prayed his memorable prayer of Psalm 51, after he’d committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered, he traced his heinous actions back to their original cause—his sinful nature acquired in his mother’s womb.
You might be thinking, why devote so much attention to sin? It just makes me feel guilty. My reason is to cause us all to realize we have no place to hide. Only against the dark backdrop of our sinfulness can we see the glory of the cross shining forth in all its brilliance and splendor.
We often resort to euphemisms to mitigate the severity of our sins. I sat with some friends across the table from a Christian leader who said, “I’ve had an affair.” Of course, we all knew what he meant, but I later wished I’d had the presence of mind to respond, “Bob, look me in the eye and say, ‘I’ve committed adultery.'” We need to call sin what the Bible calls it and not soften it with expressions borrowed from our culture.
Furthermore, even a deep, penetrating sense of our sinfulness does not do justice to the reality of our predicament. Our situation was so desperate that only the death of God’s own Son on a cruel and shameful cross was sufficient to resolve the problem.