In Numbers 32:23, Moses reminds the children of Israel (as they begin preparing to enter the promise land across the Jordan) that sin is not taken lightly. He sternly reminds them that “your sin WILL find you out.”
And it’s true.
So often we think we can hide our sin.
Or that it wasn’t a big deal.
It was so small...
We shouldn’t need to repent over that.
Moses reminds them that God’s standard is perfection. Jesus echoes these truths when He tells us that:
"Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.” -Luke 12:1-3
Sin is a big deal.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Our failure is all too obvious.
Our need is extremely great.
But so is God’s grace.
In the end of the next chapter Moses then reminds them of the punishment for sin:
“But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell.” -Numbers 33:55
Sin does find us out, and there is a punishment for it. Romans 3:23 tells us that the wages (payment) of our sin is death.
Moses has clearly laid out our natural reality:
Our sin will find us out.
We will be punished justly for our sin.
But as Billy Graham has put it:
“You’re born. You suffer. You die. Fortunately, there’s a loophole."
This “loophole” is God’s payment for our sin.
Our sin is great. And our punishment HAS to be paid, or else God is unjust. But rather than us paying it ourselves, God Himself (Jesus) offers to pay our debt instead.
So rather than us receiving the “barbs in our eyes” and the “thorns in our sides” as our rightful punishment, Jesus instead has chosen to take the crown of thorns upon His head, and to have His side pierced for our transgressions.
"But he (Jesus) was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.”
Every sin requires penalty.
But now, you and I can celebrate that Jesus’ death has not only brought us a clean slate, but renewed life! Our sin separated us from God and now we can come before Him, not only justified, but to ask for abundant life! The penalty of our sin has been paid for, so now we can come to God for His Spirit and for the strength to break the power of sin over our lives. We can come to Him for hope that every “sin and weight that entangles us” can be overcome by His grace.
So may you not only have a paid bill, a clean slate, and a “free ticket” to heaven, but may you take ahold of this new relationship with God that brings you freedom! May you no longer be a “slave to sin” but a “slave to righteousness”, and may you enjoy the abounding love, grace, and relationship with God that comes with it.