Too often we think little of God, his perfect holiness, righteousness, and justice, and as a result little of what our sin really is and does. Reflecting on this perennial reality of the human heart, Thomas Boston (1676-1732) warned his congregation:
“Let no man think lightly of sin, which lays the sinner open to the wrath of God. Let not the sin of our nature seem a small thing in our eyes. Fear the Lord because of His dreadful wrath. Tremble at the thought of sin, against which God has such fiery indignation… Admire the matchless love which brought you out of the state of wrath… it was no easy work to purchase the life of the condemned sinner, but He gave His life for your life. He gave his precious blood to quench the flame of wrath, which otherwise would have consumed you.”
When by God’s grace our eyes are opened to see him, understanding with new clarity both our sin and the grace he freely offers us in Christ, the result is love–for God and for our neighbor. After a woman of ill-repute came to Jesus and anointed his feet, to the disgust of the Pharisees, Jesus said,
“I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:49)
She was aware of God in all his glory, painfully aware of the reality of her sin, overwhelmed with thankfulness at the grace of God in Christ. She knew that Jesus was giving his life for her. And she was filled with love and new obedience.