An interesting thing happened when I became an adult: I noticed no one did anything wrong. Suddenly, we were flawless.
Have you felt that too? I’ve been an adult a long time now and I can definitely look back and remember the shift not too long after I graduated High School. Back then (and it’s getting further and further back every day), we were in our parents’ household and knew full well we were perfect.
But then we became High School graduates. And we never did anything wrong again. At least, to talk to adults, that’s how it sounds. Most of the time what you hear is fixing blame on external situations instead of taking the blame yourself. It’s very (very) rare to hear someone say, “I made a mistake” without a massive “but” in the sentence.
Think about that: if you put “but” in your confession, you’re assigning blame instead of owning it. See what I mean? We’re all perfect.
That presents a real problem when it comes to Jesus, God, salvation, church and all of that. If we’re perfect, we don’t need any of it, do we? Yet, we have verses like this in the Bible in 1 John 1:8:
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
That means the Bible rejects the notion that we’re without a need to be purified of sin—mistakes, wrong-doing, missing God’s standard, meanness, cruelty, selfishness, etc.
Okay…but maybe you’re doubting that you are really that far from God’s standard. Let’s look at the Ten Commandments, first found in Exodus 20:
- No other gods
- No images
- No misusing God’s name
- Remember the Sabbath
- Honor your father and mother
- Don’t murder
- Don’t commit adultery
- Don’t steal
- Don’t lie
- Don’t want what isn’t yours
Jewish thought had developed the idea of the entire law as a protective wall designed to keep the people of God from the corruptions of the surrounding nations. Have you broken any of those Ten Commandments by stepping through the protective wall? Scripture teaches us to break any one part makes us guilty of breaking all of it (cf. James 2:10). It’s not multiple choice or best seven out of ten. It’s all or nothing, cowboy.
- Have you ever wanted something that wasn’t yours?
- Have you ever told a lie? Ever?
- Have you ever taken something you owed to someone else? How about your taxes?
- Have you ever committed adultery? Jesus said if you look at someone with sexual desire, you’ve already committed adultery.
- Have you killed anyone in cold blood? Jesus said if you’re angry at someone and call them a fool, you’ve already killed them in cold blood in your heart.
So…we’re a bunch of greedy, lying, stealing, adulterous murderers.
Houston, we have a problem. And that problem is sin. It’s infected us and has warped us—even to the point of making us deny it’s even there. It’s an insidious disease.
The cure to our sin is a Savior, THE Savior: Jesus. 1 John 1:9 reminds us:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Once we understand the reality that we are sinners and are hopelessly lost without a Savior, the offer by God through Jesus is the greatest news we could ever receive. We were sick in sin, but now we are reborn into life!