The most difficult truth to accept about sin is that sin isn’t some alien force that works against our true selves, but it is part of who we are. It may seem comforting to think that “sin” separates us from God, but sin has no substance of its own. Rather, each one of us has chosen to offend God and hide away rather than face the consequences.
The story of the Fall in Genesis 3 is sometimes too familiar to us and we skip over important details. We typically think that something mysterious and metaphysical happened the moment that Adam and Eve ate from the Tree, but it’s actually something mundane that changed in their relationship to God. In verse 8 the couple hears God from afar as He was enjoying an evening stroll through the garden. Rather than an abstract notion of “sin” causing the separation between humanity and God, it was Adam and Eve who hid themselves and separated themselves from God!
In teaching calls this is an important point to make for teenagers, because their first response, when they have disobeyed their parents, is to try to hide the offense. It’s nothing that the parent has done or anything inherent in the disobedience. The children themselves choose to hide parts of their lives away from the very people who are protecting them and providing.
It isn’t “sin” that separates us from God. We separate ourselves from our Creator because we want it that way. I don’t think we can ever comprehend the depth of our offense until we acknowledge that truth.
But if the offense is personal, then the solution is personal as well!
There are two words used to talk of forgiveness in the New Testament.
1 John 1:9 gives one of those words, and the idea is a “release” of offense. God will not hold a grudge against us if we confess our sins to Him. The other idea is found in Colossians 2:13. In this verse, God graciously grants us pardon, merely because we are united with his Son. It is purely God’s prerogative, and He takes it personally.
God forgives our sin because He wants to!