One hundred million sins

Dear Friends,

Tate Modern has an intriguing exhibition at present. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has displayed more than one hundred million ‘sunflower seeds’ made of porcelain. They are an impressive sight, covering 1,000 square metres of the Turbine Hall. Handmade, no two seeds are exactly the same.

I heard about this exhibit at the same time as reading JC Ryle on ‘Our sins’. It made me wonder what it would take to commit one hundred million sins. The answer, sadly, is ‘not much’. Over a span of sixty years, with three hundred and sixty-five days in each year, and sixteen hours each day available for sinning (assuming, for the sake of argument, that we don’t sin while we’re asleep – which is debatable), I only need to commit three sins every hour to rack up a total of one million sins. When we include the good we don’t do, along with the evil we do, and realise that things like envy, greed, lust and coveting are sins, I should think that three sins every hour is something of an underestimate. So it would only need a hundred of us to amass that one hundred million.

Ryle says that there is no question more important than this: ‘Where are my sins?’. “The hour cometh when all other questions will seem like a drop of water in comparison with this. We shall not say, “Where is my money?” – or, “Where are my lands?” – or, “Where is my property?”. Our only thought will be, “My sins! My sins! – Where are my sins?” When we see things like that, and feel the full weight of our sins, can there by any better new than this: to hear that our sins have been taken from us and laid on Christ? “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24).

Yours in Christ,
Chris Hobbs