The Difference Between Our Sins and Our Sin (Romans with J.D. Walt)

Prayer of Consecration

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body as a holy and living sacrifice to you.

Jesus, We belong to you.

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.


Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Romans 1:24–32 (NIV)

Consider This

Let me say at the outset today that I believe every single word of today’s text without exception (and every other day for that matter). It is a clear, unambiguous, strafing of both capital S Sin and lowercase s sins and the people who commit them. And to be clear—that would be all of us—every single one.

That said, in the spirit of what I said yesterday, I will wait to deal with yesterday’s and today’s texts until next week and the week following. See the note below for a bit more on my approach.1 Suffice it to say, today I want to practice what I preach and give prior focus to the gospel about which this entire book (if not the entire Bible) is devoted.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith” (Rom. 1:16–17).

In today’s text, Paul captures for us the very essence (if not the definition) of Sin in one sentence. Notice I capitalized the word sin as Sin. We will say much more about this in the coming few weeks, but we must begin to grasp the relationship between our Sin and our sins. Paul begins by giving us one of the clearest definitions of capital S Sin in the whole Bible:

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Paul then gives us a representative but not an exhaustive list of the little s sins by detailing for us the scene of an average day in first-century Rome (and any other society suffering in the advanced stages of the metastatic cancer of Sin.) Our sins are the symptoms, but the sickness is Sin. The rest of the letter and every other letter in the New Testament is all about the cure. It comes down to one Word: Jesus.

We must make a critical shift in our understanding and orientation before launching into the deeps of this letter to the Romans and to us. We must shift from the notion of the little phrase, “The gospel of Jesus,” to the equally little but infinitely larger phrase: The gospel is Jesus.

I want you to reflect deeply on this today. The gospel is Jesus.

As Martin Luther famously sang, “He must win the battle.” In fact, he already has.  

Jesus, we belong to you. Yes, Jesus, I belong to you. You are the gospel. Teach me this. Holy Spirit, would you increase my understanding by first enlarging my curiosity around the meaning of this little phrase, Jesus is the gospel. In a world that is terminally ill with Sin cancer, I want to focus on the cure who is Jesus. I want to be cured of the disease of Sin and then healed from all of the symptoms, so many of which continue to plague me. Thank you, Jesus—so much. Thank you. Praying in your name, amen.

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