I’m a sinner

22 10 2007

I sin. Not just occasionally but to be frank, quite often. Usually the sin takes the shape of a thought, but from time to time it blossoms into an action. Now my behavior can really bug me: and so it should. I feel guilt at failing God, and struggle with the consequences. And until today I didn’t fully appreciate God’s take on sin.

The shift happened as I read and reflected on three stories from Luke,

15: 4-7 reads,lost-sheep.jpg

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

And 15: 8-10,

lost-coin.jpg“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

What initially struck me was God’s massive enthusiasm for the sinner who repents verses the ‘righteous persons who do not need to repent.’ In the parable of the lost son, when the wayward son returns home to a hero’s welcome from his father, the loyal older son becomes angry and protests to his father,

‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ “(Luke 15: 29-32)

God absolutely rejoices when I come to him seeking forgiveness for my sin. And in this was my huge realisation: God is a God for the sinner. Somehow over the years I had got into my mind that God hated sinners, full stop. Well God does hate my sin, but that doesn’t mean he hates me. His love for me is such that he rejoices big time when I come to him and acknowledge my wrong doing and seek His forgiveness.

The more time I spend reading and reflecting on the Bible, the more I am exposed to beliefs within myself that are confused misunderstandings. Part of maturing as a Christian is sorting these misunderstandings out and thinking in a more Christ like way.

The Catholic Catechism says it well,

“The Church “forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful. . . to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”

To know the Bible is to know Christ and to understand what it means to be like Christ.

Mark

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One response

23 10 2007
Mark Sims

1 Timothy 1:15 (NASB)
15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

Cool eh?
Mark

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