Our Human Condition: Missing the Mark

Romans 4: 5-8 “5But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

7“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,

And whose sins are covered;

8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” (NKJV)

Using a stress ball might be good for relieving some anxiety, but it doesn’t get to the heart of our human condition. Perhaps, I can release enough stress to relieve a little but of tension, but it does not deal with the heart of the issue of our humanity. I have sinned. I have missed the mark. I have failed. For hunters missing the mark, or missing the target, is a big disappointment, and it cannot be corrected, but at least you can make another attempt. Not so with moral failure.

What does missing the mark means for you and I? Paul quotes David from Psalm 32:2 that blessed is the man whose sin is covered. “The Hebrew word “khata” in Psalm 32 is most commonly translated as “sin.” Khata’ means “to fail” or “to miss the goal.” Here are literal examples of the word.

Judges 20:16

16Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

The first bullets were in sling shots. These warriors never missed a shot. In battle they could never afford to.

Proverbs 19:2

2Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge,

And he who hurries his footsteps errs.

The one who sins here is someone who misses his destination. Sin, khata, and its Greek counterpart means to miss the goal. It means to fail.

What happens to you and I in our moral failure? A person who sins never is quite on target. The person may have the best of intentions, but never reach the goal. It means you and I fail. This is why people even Christians may rightly say we are always making mistakes, and we can sin every day. In fact, one preacher, A.W. Tozer used to say that sin is always an act of misjudgment.

That is why sin as a moral failure is more than just breaking some rules. Rules can be changed, and we can correct our behavior in accordance with rules. Sin does more than that to you and I.

Sin is even more than understanding the correct doctrine about sin. Sin is in the deepest crevices of our hearts. We need to truly repent of that sin, and turn away from it with the deepest remorse, but even simply understanding sin is not enough to deal with the problems it causes.

Sin means that you and I miss the target. What is that target. The target is to love God and love others. We were created for this purpose. The first 4 commandments of the ten commandments target our love for God. The last 6 target our love for others. Sin destroys both relationships.

There is an example of this early in Scripture in Genesis 4 about the relationship between 2 brothers, namely Cain and Able. God did not accept Cain’s grain offering, but he accepted Abel’s offering of the firstborn of the flock. God warned him before he murdered his brother saying in verse 6,”Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin (khata) lies at the door, and its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

Our sin, our failure, in missing God’s target for you and I is like a wild beast that lies in wait to pounce on you and devour and destroy you. Cain had a choice. God said you should rule over it. Most cannot. We allow sin to destroy us and in turn we become like wild beast ready to destroy other people, but there is help. God provided a way.

What is the answer for you and I? Paul the Apostle said in Romans 3:23 (NKJV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

The answer is the propitiation by Jesus’ blood. You can put your faith in what He did, but what is propitiation? It is the Greek word hilasterion which is the place of mercy, it is the Old Testament mercy seat, where the blood of the sacrifice was applied. Sin is covered, but it is not a “cover up operation.” Blessed is the man whose sins are covered. The New Testament teaches that the blood of Jesus washes away the sin, and failure.

The mercy seat was the place of atonement. Paul speaks of the atonement once in Romasn 5:11. It is often translated in our newer versions as reconciliation. The blood of Jesus gets right to the heart of our moral failures dealing with our relationship with God and others. His blood washes clean and reconciles us to God and others. The Old English word atonement means at-one-ment. The relationship between God and you is restored.

The letters of John are more specific. He uses a similar word, hilasmos. He says:

And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:2

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10

Jesus is the propitiation, atonement, reconciliation, cleansing for your personal sin and for the whole world, and for every kind of sin. In the Old Testament it was not entirely so. Only unintentional sin could be forgiven in the sacrificial system. That is why both David and Paul who were deserving of death for their sin could say blessed is the man whose sin is covered. Both destroyed their relationships with God and others, but both through faith in Jesus received reconciliation

From the point of view of the ancient world sinners were subject to wrath and judgment. Atonement is the answer because no longer God sees our sins, but graciously washes us clean, and restores our relationship with Him through faith in Him. At the cross Jesus became the target for sin, and all of your human moral failure. He freely took it upon Himself. In the cross is the mercy seat, reconciliation, oneness with Him again, where sin is covered and completely washed away. Repent today. Turn from a hardened heart. Confess your sin to Him. Let Him begin to wash away the sin. Yes there will always be a need for spiritual growth following this, but this is the starting place. This is where healing begins at the cross.


Reader Comments(0)