At a worship service, a well-dressed woman came forward at the invitation. The minister took her hand and began praying. First, he prayed for his own short comings, “Lord, I sin, and I know that I can’t save myself, but I need your forgiveness.” The minister continued in prayer on behalf of the lady. Following the prayer, she told the minister, “I do want to be a Christian, but I am not a sinner.” The minister replied, “You cannot receive the salvation of the Lord if you cannot acknowledge that you have sin in your life, because Jesus died for sinners.” She replied, “But, I am a good sinner.” “A good sinner? There are no good sinners!” And he asked her to reconsider her stance. She said, “I am not really a bad person,” after which the minister said he really could do nothing more for her at that time. Right then, the lady put a vice-grip on his hand, looked him in the eyes and said, “Please forgive me…I am so proud -- deep down, I do know that I need the Lord to forgive me.” The minister said, “Wonderful, now you are ready to do business with God. This is the way that a lot of folks live. One of my friends said one time, it took him a long time to choose to become a Christian, because, as he put it, “I thought I was a good guy.” But, this is not the point. If goodness was the measure, then it would certainly impact everything related to salvation. The point is, until we can admit, our “badness”…that is, that we have sin that needs to be forgiven…no matter how “good” we have been…then we cannot receive the salvation of the Lord. John gives us the antidote in 1 John 1-2. If we turn our lives over to Jesus, He can deal with our sin problem and provide freedom for our souls.
John mentions the subject of “sin” nine times in this section, so he must be trying to make a point…it obviously is an important matter.
Sometimes humility comes hard. We “all have sinned,” (Romans 3:23) and yet, sometimes, I think that we want to “enjoy” it. Well, if Satan didn’t make sin pleasurable, then it wouldn’t be very tempting. We need to be aware of this, and embrace the love, joy and peace of the Lord that far outweighs and “outpleasures” anything that Satan is going to bring our way. If we lie, cheat or steal, we are being dishonest…and one sin leads to another. As Abe Lincoln said one time, “If a man is going to be a liar, he had better have a good memory.” This is why we not only need forgiveness, but why we also need to forgive one another. If a person wants to keep a record of wrongs, it can become a full-time job…bitterness can keep us plenty busy, and this is not a good place to be. For any sin…if we spend our energy defending it, or pretending it isn’t there…then there is nothing left for living! Worse, it becomes who we are, and that is…fleshly. If we “walk in the light of the Lord, as He is in the light,” then we can live blamelessly, having our sins confessed and cleansed by the blood of Jesus. And having confessed our sins, we can live forgiven lives and not continue to live in the guilt, worry or anxiety related to past sins. Friends, we have indeed been set free (from sin) to live as free people. We have an Advocate pleading our case in heaven -- Jesus...and an Advocate helping us to live holy lives here on the earth -- the Holy Spirit. We have every opportunity to live positively and productively for the Lord, so let's make the most of it. Blessings,