**** This is an excerpt form Captivated by Christ: Focusing on Him published in 2008.

John 1:29: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” 

Have you ever wondered why this verse doesn’t say sins (plural)?  Could it be that there is a difference between our sin and our sinfulness?  Well, there is.  Our sinfulness is the root of our sin.  Let me explain. 

Sinfulness is our nature.  That sinful nature causes us to sin.  That’s why they say, “The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart”.  That’s why Jesus came to deal with our sinfulness so that we might be declared righteous and be given the capacity for good deeds in Him.  He knew what the heart of the problem was so He came to change the human heart.  Now this will not happen completely until we are glorified but it should give us pause to our inherently depraved nature (our sinfulness) and the unrighteousness (sin) that it produces. This is critical in understanding His redemptive purpose.  

I think that we see these 2 different uses of sin in John 8:7-11: “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.  At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” 

The pious and disapproving crowd wanted to condemn her for her sin (adultery) yet Jesus pointed out that they were not without sin (sinfulness).  They too were capable of sin, even though they may not have committed the sin of physical adultery.  In other words, they and the adulterous woman had the same problem – they were sinners by nature – although their transgressions may have varied.  But don’t we do this?  We readily condemn the sins of others without seeing our own twisted and distorted deviance from God’s holy standard.  Yet when we do recognize that we have “missed the mark” of God’s perfection we often do not go deep enough in our analysis. 

We need to understand this.  Because when we are aware of our sin and ask His forgiveness for it we often times don’t recognize the deeper issue – our sinfulness.  We fail to peel back the onion of our wretched and stained hearts to see the root and cause of the problem.  We go on addressing our sin without asking Him to deal with our nature.  We should be aware of both. We should be asking for God to forgive both – our sin and sinfulness.  We should be asking God for His strength to deal with both. 

It may be painful but it is purifying to dissect our innate Godlessness.  Not only does it aid in our battle with sin but it creates a new and amazing perspective on His grace.  As we begin to see more and more of our sinfulness His forgiveness will become larger and larger.  As we become lower He becomes higher. And this will cause us to love Him more and that will be the motivator of our thankful obedience. That’s why Jesus said, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47).    As we discover the depth and breadth of the underbelly of our unworthiness He becomes immeasurably more worthy in our hearts.  And as we see His indescribable value our dependence on Him grows.  

Do you see the Godward spiral?  We see the depths of our sinfulness, we gaze upon His purity, we marvel at His redemptive plan and provisions, we increasingly adore Him in all of His loveliness, we embrace our utter dependence on Him and our life reflects this divine communion.  He becomes our treasure and our power for He has conquered our sin and sinfulness.