Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The book, Leadership and Self Deception, offers very telling insights into how to become more self-aware by learning to see your faults more accurately, understanding other’s strengths and needs in a more generous light, and responding positively to the instinct within you to help other people as much as possible.
The premise is that truth has to do with acknowledging our sin and shortcomings. Certainly this is aligned with 1 John 1:8, “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” But as I read this passage (above), I begin to see a different facet of truth’s place in the life of a believer, and – more importantly – in the proclamation of the gospel.
If Jesus is the way, the truth [emphasis added], and the life – which most certainly he is – then a failure to acknowledge our sin renders us bereft of Jesus.
On top of that, Jesus himself says, that if we continue in his word we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. (John 8:31-32)
Paul speaks of the gospel as the word of truth – equating the two in the verses above. I’m wondering how I might reimagine 1 John 1:8-9. Somehow an acknowledgement of my sin is key to Jesus’ presence in my life. Interesting. You might think the exact opposite. Sinless ones are those in whom Jesus lives we would suppose. People who have defeated sin are the ones who have Jesus in their hearts.
To some extent such a view would be good news…if we are able to rid ourselves of this cancer. Problem is, I’ve not been able to do so. I stand with the likes of Martin Luther, Augustine of Hippo, Billy Graham, and St. Paul himself (“wretched man that I am”). And we have Jesus in our hearts.
You might say, but how can evil (sin) exist where Jesus is? The better question is how does Jesus deal with sinners? He eats with them. He calls them to be Apostles. He forgives them. He heals them. He sends them. He loves them.
This is the good news: Jesus Christ came to save sinners. I am one of them. And he is my Savior and Lord. That word needs to be spread to the whole world. The signs on our church marquees should read, “Sinners Welcome.”
This is no excuse for sinning further. This is a call to praise God for his glorious grace, and live in that grace day by day.