But if you don't have an accurate diagnosis, the doctor can't help you much. The deeper we dig into Genesis 3 (and by the way, we have a looooong ways to go yet) the worse things look. We find out that we are in bondage to sin, that we sin in thought, in word, in deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved God with our whole hearts. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. The list goes on.
So how do we deal with this? Stop reading? Decide to read something else? Get a second opinion?
God's desire is that our sin should finally have its way with us -- that it should beat us down and beat us up until we are willing to turn to him. At that point everything changes. We come to the cross of Jesus and there, hanging between heaven and earth, we see the full measure of our sinfulness. We see that our sin has earned us death. That we are thoroughly corrupt. And in our corruption, while we were yet sinners, God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He came in Jesus of Nazareth to live and die to rescue us from the deadly consequences of our sin. He came to die and to rise, to conquer the death we have earned, so that we might have his life -- not our own old worm-eaten corrupt life, but the new, holy life he gives. As we turn to him and to his cross, as we welcome the risen Jesus into our lives, he begins to live his life in us.
This morning, as I write this, there are about 80 people from Minnesota Teen Challenge at Central Lutheran, singing their hearts out and telling how Jesus saved them from the death they deserved. He has rescued them out of addiction, abuse, crime, homelessness, death of every kind. He is living his new life in them, a little more each day as their sinful past comes to death on his cross.
We need an accurate diagnosis -- otherwise we may never realize that our problem is so great that it demands our death. If we do not know how desperate things are, we may settle for something less than dying at the foot of Jesus' cross and accepting the new life he offers. So in the end, an accurate diagnosis of our sin -- while it is difficult to hear -- is good news.