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January 10 – LD 2, Day 3: How We Know Our Sins

Read: Romans 7:1ff.

In the last meditation I said that it is very difficult to know our sins and confess them. We are always trying to defend our own sinful life and justify ourselves. And if we are sorry for our sins, it is only because we are caught and  suffer sin’s consequences.

We must remember once again that the Catechism is talking to and instructing believers, people of God, those who are saved. “Whence knowest thou thy misery?” the implication is, therefore, that only a child of God can really know his sins.

In other words, we need the grace of God in our hearts and the work of the Holy Spirit even in order to be truly sorry for our sins. We have to learn to pray, even before we confess our sins, “Lord, give us grace to be sorry for our sins.”

Yes, there is a certain regret for sin in the world, but the worldly people (and we too, often) take sins lightly, dismiss them as unimportant, and wave our hands with a gesture of indifference, “Oh, it was only a little lie.”

The problem is that among our sins is the sin of pride, and pride keeps us from admitting how wicked we really are. Pride is such a huge devil in the lives of men that pride even gets in the way of Biblical theology. Pride is why all forms of Arminianism are so popular. Arminianism tells man that he can do something for his salvation. He can choose for Christ. He can let Christ into his heart. He can pray for Christ to help him.

But these are all efforts on the part of wicked men to salvage some tattered remains of their pride. Scripture and the HC won’t let us do that. It insists that if we really want to know our deliverance in Christ, we must learn that we can do nothing good at all. True humility is required of us, and true humility comes only through grace.

But even then, we still need help. And the help we need to know our sins and misery comes, says our teacher, through the law of God. James calls the law of God a mirror in which we see ourselves reflected.

Once again, I must emphasize that the law is a mirror only for the believer. A wicked man may look in the mirror of the law and see only a reflection of himself that looks pretty good to him. He preens in front of the mirror and is rather proud of himself. Or perhaps he doesn’t want to look in the mirror at all. In our country, the supreme court has forbidden the ten commandments to be found in schools, in public buildings or anywhere where people come. They are afraid that people will find it offensive.

How sad.

Last modified on 13 January 2016

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  • Date: 10-January
Hanko, Herman

Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)

Ordained: October 1955

Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965

Emeritus: 2001


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