“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Repent and he baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
Acts 2:37-38 (NIV UK)
A friend of mine told me about a visit he made to a home for people diagnosed with disabilities. The staff at that home doesn’t describe the residents in terms of their condition. Instead, they refer to them as “service users.” This is done out of sensitivity for the feelings of everyone involved, and that is understandable.
But there comes a time when we have to face the facts before us—however inconvenient or politically incorrect they may be. That’s why, when the Bible describes us in our unredeemed state, it tells it like it is—we’re “sinners.”
We don’t like that term today. It’s not “politically correct.” It sounds judgmental and condemning. To suggest that we are “sinners” implies we’re to blame for our mistakes. We prefer not to be confronted with that reality. We’re like the people of ancient Israel, who refused to listen to the prophets God sent to warn them of national ruin.
Listen to their reaction: “They tell their spiritual leaders, ‘Don’t bother us with irrelevancies.’ They tell their preachers, ‘Don’t waste our time on impracticalities. Tell us what makes us feel better. Don’t bore us with obsolete religion. That stuff means nothing to us’” (Isaiah 30:10-11, The Message).
Before sin can be forgiven, it must be recognised. Paul confessed that he was a chief among sinners. He admitted his past and present sins. He didn’t minimise them, or make them sound “politically correct.” He knew that his only hope was to accept the gracious sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
Jesus came to make God’s eternal love visible. He came among us “as one who serves” (Luke 22:27). He was and is the demonstration of God’s love and mercy for all humanity. And his sacrificial death was his crowning act of service for men and women everywhere. Like Paul, we should be willing to accept what we are—sinners.
And in facing that fact, we’re able to take advantage of the ‘service’ Christ offers. Don’t be afraid to admit you are a sinner, and receive God’s grace.
Merciful Father, we ‘know’ that we are forgiven, but we need that constant reassurance you give us that this is really so. Help us to accept that your mercy is not limited, but is extended to us all the time we seek your will and your way of life. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author: Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.