Churches are full a people who are trying to be “good Christians.” There are a more than a few who believe they are succeeding; at least it’s what they want to believe and more than that . . . it’s what they want everyone else to believe.
But the Psalmist wrote, “All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Psalm 14:3
And Paul wrote, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
My goal is not to give you a heavy dose of guilt, nor is it to judge. I just want us to stop for a few days and look at God’s gift of forgiveness with intentional gratitude.
Let’s leave every bit of pride at the foot of the cross and allow ourselves to be completely covered by grace and mercy.
The definition of sin is missing the mark.
Synonyms for sin are:
- transgression or trespass (which means to cross the boundary)
Not only did Paul write that we’re all guilty sinners, but he also wrote, “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23a
The definition for wage is getting what is deserved or earned.
And since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden, everyone is born with a condition called sin.
Because we are typically self-focused, we most often think about our personal loss as a result of that first sin. Occasionally we grieve the sinful condition of humanity in general. Lately, I’ve been thinking about God’s loss. He created us for relationship. He wanted the pure intimacy that is found in perfectly shared love. I can’t imagine how His heart must have broken as He watched Adam and Eve leave the Garden.
We can understand His disappointment . . . we get disappointed.
We can understand His anger . . . we get angry.
We can understand His need to follow through with consequences . . . as parents we’ve had to do the same.
Today, think about the grief of loss He must have felt, and then think about His perfect, impossible to completely understand, love.
Love that lived among us. Love that got its hands dirty. Love that subjected itself to physical and emotional torment. Love that paid the price for our sin by taking our punishment. Love that gave it all to us as a gift.
Paul ended Romans 6:23 with the following words, “The free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
A gift which frees us:
- from having to be “good Christians.”
- to follow Jesus.
- from worrying about what people think.
- to live without worry and fear.
- from eternal death.
- to eternal life.
- from self-obsession.
- to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love others like we love ourselves.
During the next few weeks we are going to look at forgiveness through the lens of intentional gratitude. We will focus on God’s forgiveness freely given to us, the challenges of forgiving those closest to us, the importance of forgiving acquaintances and strangers, and our need to forgive those who judge us when we fail to reach their standards for “good Christians.”
The next time someone asks, “Are you a good Christian?” I’m hoping you and I will answer, “No, I’m a forgiven Christian.”