If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1, verse 8.
Years ago, I was talking with a co-worker who was disparaging the fact that I was a believing Christian. Something he said stuck in my head: “I’ve always had trouble with the concept of original sin.” This was one of the best project managers I’ve ever known. My friend, Curt, was a good debater, a funny guy, and a loyal friend. But what he said really shocked me because it is so opposite one of the things that’s fundamental to accepting God into your heart.
We’re chock full of sin. Even when we let God take control of our lives, and even when we realize how He’s paid the penalty for all our wrongs, we’re still chock full of sin. Maybe we don’t lie, screw around, cheat, steal or do whatever we did before. But do we still feel pangs of envy? Do we still lose our tempers? Do we still worry, or not trust when we should? Do we still hold grudges, even small ones? Sin. Whether we like it or not, we’ve got it. It is all around us and some consequences of it remain in us.
We’ve got it because that tendency was passed down to us from our ancestors. Whether it’s fair or not, what Adam and Eve and their children did is grafted into our very humanity. Our disposition to sin is part of us just like blood, bone and tissue. We lie to ourselves if we think otherwise. Jesus’ friend John not only confirmed that. He added that there is no truth in us if we keep telling ourselves we’re without sin. No honesty, no Spirit of God, no hope, no redemption, no wisdom. If we say we are without sin, we are in direct opposition to everything God stands for.
In other words, we’re chock full of sin. That’s an ugly truth but it’s a truth just the same. It’s a truth my friend denied. And it’s a truth that begs a really good question: why bother?
Why bother? Because God sent His Son to clean it out. If sin permeates our body, Christ is the medicine to cure it. He is like dialysis to unhealthy blood, like bleach to stained clothing. You and I can’t change our genetic makeup on our own, but God can. If we believe that He died for our salvation, He does change us. He makes what is impure pure. He removes our deception and replaces it with hope. He does something so good that even a sinful skeptic like my friend would glare in thanks at its brilliant truth. He does it when you profess, “I believe.”
Jesus, thank you for doing for me what I couldn’t do. Thank you for cleaning me up and changing my nature. Help me to share this great news with others.