Pray BIG Prayers – Sin

Sin is not a popular word really, is it? It’s often associated with some Bible-wielding angry-faced shouty-street preacher. You know the type; perhaps wearing a sandwich board and shouting about how you are going to hell if you don’t repent and turn to Jesus in faith to save you from the consequence of your sin. Whilst they are actually 100% correct in what they are teaching, their delivery can often turn people away.

Sin means, in the Bible, to miss the mark. Think archery. You’ve aimed at the bullseye but yet your arrow flies somewhere miles past the target or falls limply between you and the intended target. You’ve missed the mark. In Christian-ese language then, sin is to miss the mark set by God’s Holy and perfect standard. To be really frank, we are all sinners (Romans 3.23). Whether we know it or not, whether we sin intentionally or not, sin has a consequence (Numbers 15.22-31, Hebrews 9). So, you have sinned, I have sinned, we have sinned. Have, do, and will. 

Today’s BIG prayer then is about sin and is twofold. First, for our eyes to be opened to where we are unintentionally sinning. Second, a heartfelt and sincere thanks that there is opportunity for them to be covered, cleansed, and the consequences cast upon One who bore them.

Father, would you show me where in my life I am missing the mark. Show me through the complete and comprehensive teachings and revelation of your Word. Show me where am I erring from your good and perfect plan for my life.

I thank you that even those sins which I am unaware of are graciously forgiven at the cross, where He who knew no sin became sin in order that I may be righteous in your eyes. 

2 Timothy 3.2-5 – The Human Condition

Straight after the sad but true news that people are difficult, Paul goes on to detail the human condition.

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

The list is so long that breaking it down characteristic by characteristic would simply take too long. The easiest and simplest thing to say is that all of these things centre on self. “I” and “Me” become the most important words and ideas in life, and conduct and character are totally detached from anything other than how you feel about yourself.

People will be lovers of self is a fitting way to start this section, loving yourself unconditionally at the expense of anything and anyone else leads to everything else we read in this list, and Paul’s advice to Timothy (and in principle to us) is to avoid such people.  

This is, if we are honest, the condition that comes with our human nature. Left to our own devices and choices, we know that we will become the type of person detailed here. If we don’t think we will, we are more swollen with conceit than we even realise. 

What is the remedy to this? What do we do with this sad but true state of affairs?

We turn to the Word of God. As a good friend wrote in his book titled ‘Contented‘,

After all these years of reading the Bible, I am amazed at its ability to continually reveal who I am while at the same time transforming me into a more holy person. The more submissive I am to the Word of God, the more I understand His perfect will for my life.

Jeff Gipe

Today then, be an unconditional lover of the Word before yourself, put His will above your own, put others before yourself, and let us see ourselves for what we are – sinners in need of the life-changing, life-transforming, life-saving, life-giving grace of God. 

O Holy Night

Christmas is upon us again, and it seems a shame not to look at a Christmas Hymn whilst we have the chance. 

Reading around O Holy Night we learn that it is a

“well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) written by wine merchant and poet Placide Cappeau (1808–1877). In both the French original and the English version of the carol, as well as in many other languages, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus as humanity’s redemption.”

It begins like this,

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.

In the Word, ‘holy’ means to be set apart and was there ever a night like this, set apart as the night of Jesus’ birth, the day that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (Luke 2.8, John 1.14)?

Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
’Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

As a result of the fall in Genesis, the world was in sin and error, but the birth of Jesus offered a way for the world and everything and everyone in it to be restored to how things should be, to be restored to right relationship with God (Genesis 3, Romans 8.22, John 3.16).

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!

O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night divine!

The Word tells us that one day every knee will bow at the name of Jesus (Philippians 2.10-11). One day we will be confronted with the reality to which our faith and hope and trust are anchored, and we will bow before the Lord and hear the angels worshiping Him forevermore (Revelation 5.11-14).

Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we;
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Enjoy this Christmas hymn today as we prepare to celebrate and commemorate the birth of our Lord and Saviour on that holy night!

1 Timothy 5.17-20 – The Elder Example

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” 19 Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

Paul transitions back into how the church should be led and structured and mentions the elders who rule well. Timothy as the pastor is instructed on how to deploy elders as part of his role, as is Titus in Titus 1.5. Those who serve as elders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. Here Paul is talking about those that give their lives to the proclamation of the Word. The honor is the respect of those being fed the Word by these men (Hebrews 13.7), but also that these men are to be employed by the church (v.18). In our modern day church this would look something like the lead pastor, the senior pastor, the teaching pastor, or however your church likes to use those terms. 

The character of the elder who preaches and teaches, the elder who serves in a spiritual oversight role, and everyone who displays elder-like character (which should be all of us), are given a stern warning when we read that as for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear

Not concealing the sins of those in leadership is a bold move for any organisation to make, especially the church. We want our leaders to be of good character, leaders we can follow with a clear conscience, leaders who will point us to Jesus in their words and ways.

Elders should be of such good character that we can say that we will not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. However, should they fall into sin, they should still serve as an example, hopefully of a contrite and repentant spirit who humbles themselves before the Lord and seeks forgiveness and restoration. 

Isn’t this the kind of character we all need to display, not just those asked to serve in a particular capacity for a particular period?

Spiritual Depression – That One Sin – 1 Timothy 1.15-16

Lloyd-Jones makes an interesting point when saying that if all the Christian life entailed was accepting salvation and going to heaven then the New Testament letters would never have been needed, and there would be no real need for the church.

His point is that we all struggle with life and will continue to struggle with life regardless of whether we have professed Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Being a believer is no guarantee that life will be smooth sailing.

He goes on to say that if you have never had trouble in your life, never battled through anything, are you really a believer? His point is that upon becoming a Christian, there will be things in our lives that we want to let go of, get rid of, or just plain run away from.

15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

1 Timothy 1.15-16

There will be things we all want to get rid of in our lives, some may take more time than others and this is ok. We know from the full counsel of Scripture that the forgiveness that Jesus offers is total and complete, and it is in this truth that we need to rest. 


Maybe there is something in your life that you look back on and cannot understand how you could be forgiven for.


This one sin can really get people down. They look at the testimony of others and say ‘Praise God, what a transformation!‘, but struggle to understand that they are also forgiven from all of their past. 

When we differentiate between sin (this one is worse than that one), we fail to take God at His Word. We fail to understand that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world, including the one sin that you feel you will never be forgiven. 

When an angel appeared to Joseph to reassure him he said this,

…“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1.20-21

The shed blood of Jesus covers all sins, and you are completely forgiven. The angel didn’t say “…he will save his people from some sin, but not that one sin you committed…”

Lloyd-Jones summarises well, and this is a great thought for us to take into today,

“You and I must never look at our past lives; we must never look at any sin in our past life in any way except that which leads us to praise God and to magnify His grace in Christ Jesus. I challenge you to do that. If you look at your past and are depressed by it, if as a result you are feeling miserable as a Christian, you must do what Paul did…He glories in grace and says the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”