When asked to summarize the Bible in a sentence, I have repeated two verses from the First Letter of John:
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, [God] who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
— 1 John 1:8-9
Popular culture would not agree with the first sentence. Even many Christians have invented ways of wriggling around it by redefining some of the words, or the application of the sentence. While an overwhelming majority of people will acknowledge the concept of personal sin, barely half accept the idea that all people are sinful. Worse one-third allowed that they “make many mistakes but are not sinful themselves.” They have deceived themselves into believing that those personal mistakes are not sin.
If living without sin is possible, then what need to we have of Christ Jesus to sacrifice himself on the cross? We could try a little harder, walk a little straighter, talk a little nicer.
Instead if we examine our ‘mistakes’ not along human lines that allow for human limitations, but along divine lines that expect absolute perfection, we should quickly awaken to the truth.
If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
— 1 John 1:10
The good news is that when we are honest with ourselves and with God, we have a redeemer. This does not excuse us from striving each and every day to walk the walk. Only that with God with us, we need not stay in the gutter when we slip up and fail.
I will have more to say about 1 John 1:1-10 and 2:1-2 at 8:15 AM and 10:00 AM on Sunday, April 8th at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
A Tip for Parents
Our Gospel lesson for this Sunday, John 20:19-20, describes the joy of the disciples when Jesus came to them on that first Easter Sunday nearly 2,000 years ago. Thomas, one of the twelve disciples missed that special day.
What reasons does your family have for at least trying to go to church each Sunday? I have several reasons for going to church. Not least of which is ice cream and pie. We do not have ice cream every Sunday, but I want to be present when we do. During the children’s lesson I will present a top ten list.