“And such were some of you,” the Apostle Paul goes on to say after listing a litany of sins that were present in his day and ours. Then he goes on to proclaim the good news “but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:11) Whether Paul’s list in verses 9-10 address your personal sin or mine, his point is made that all of us who now enjoy a right standing with God, having been cleansed by the blood of Christ, were at one time separated from God, subject to his wrath, because “all have sinned.” (Rom. 3:23)
I admit we’re not off to a very positive start with this article, but truth be told, we were not off to a very positive start in life due to the trail of sin set forth in the garden by our ancestors, Adam and Eve. While we might struggle in our attempt to grasp what absolute holiness is, the holiness possessed only by God, it shouldn’t be as hard for us to own up to the fact that we struggle with the imperfections sin has saddled us with. Like Paul, when we look to the word of God and his prescriptions for us, we find ourselves doing things we know we shouldn’t and dropping the ball on things we know we should do. No need to panic, it’s a big club called humanity.
One might think we Christ-followers, of all people, would approach life with a greater sense of humility than anyone. By humility I don’t want to send the message we should see ourselves “lower” than others, we’re not worms, but that we should have an accurate apprehension of who we are. Positionally, the way God sees us, we are clothed with a “borrowed” righteousness and holiness afforded us by Christ. Any “goodness” we demonstrate is purely a reflection of the God who ransomed us.
One of the most common complaints non-Christians have about us is that we are hypocrites and judgmental. I agree with much of that. With respect to being hypocrites, I think everyone has a bit of that going. Being transparent and honest about ourselves doesn’t come easy and we can be quick to mask who we really are at heart. If you wish to argue this point, spend a few hours reading FaceBook postings. Enough said.
That we can come across as judgmental, I have to wince and say that is often true. We still are plagued by a view that starts on the outward appearance of others (physically and behaviorally) long before we get to their heart (if ever). This is reverse of God’s directive (1 Samuel 16:7). It seems Jesus was always waving people towards him, not pushing them away. Certainly he exposed himself to some very raw, rough and crude people, many who were steeped in sin, but he beckoned them to come close enough to clearly hear his life-giving words. Are you and I willing to touch lives like that? Jesus touched my life like that, and I am still growing in my understanding of how and why. “And such were some of you.”
Do you try to visualize the stories we get from the Bible? I do. John 8 relates an interaction with Jesus that warrants modeling. You’ve read it. A woman is literally caught in the act of adultery (do you get that?) and dragged out and placed within a circle of “religious” men who are prepared to stone her. She’s probably on her knees, and Jesus stoops to his and confronts not her but her accusers. In the dirt together, he looks in her eyes,now just picture his eyes, and says compassionately and with conviction, “neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” Don’t you yearn to have that same character and approach to people who are still under the influence of some entangling sin? Jesus, what a beautiful example for us! Redemption. Think About It.