All Means….All

forgiven-thomas-blackshear

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.”  ~ I Timothy 1:15

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”   ~ Romans 7:14-25

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”   ~ I John 2:1

“All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.”   ~ Romans 3:23

There seems to be a myth out there: that people who call themselves Christians never sin.  That people who claim Christianity are somehow immune to temptation, to weakness, to falling, to mistakes, to bad choices.

Let me clear up this myth: it is false.  A Christian is still a human being with a human nature.  We still sin. We still feel temptation and, sadly, we sometimes act on it.

In the wake of the great Ashley Madison data dump, I have noticed shock, awe, and a sad bit of glee over the public fall of various Christian figures.  Is cheating on one’s spouse wrong? Of course.  But guess what?  The man who runs a corporation that happens to be a Christian is just as susceptible to sin as the man who runs a bank or a green nonprofit. The teacher who happens to be a pastor can fall just like the teacher who is a college professor.

Being a Christian does not mean that someone magically never ever sins again.  The message of Christianity is not OUR perfection, but Christ’s.  Because He was perfect and paid the price for our sin, we are redeemed.  The message of the Gospel is redemption from sin, not immunity to its pull.  Of course, sin is wrong.  But God chastens His children; He really doesn’t need the rest of the world to do so.  Blaming Christianity for the sin of its fallible followers is very much like blaming Weight Watchers for fat people.

Now, those who hold themselves out as Christians leaders do need to take that role seriously; they do need to understand that when they choose to indulge, it ripples out much farther than when the ordinary church member does so.  But the sin of one person does not “prove” that Christianity “doesn’t work.”  In reality, it is when that person repents, allows themselves to be changed, and is redeemed, that we see just how amazingly Christianity does work.  And that should give hope to all of us because, after all, nobody’s perfect….not even Christians.

Advertisements