By Jason Trost
"I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent."
-Luke 5:32 (NLT)
Recently, while preparing for a Sunday School class, I was reading a lesson on Jesus calling the tax collector into service. I was reminded of my high school baseball days. I remembered those games when we were tied 0-0 into the later innings and then the opposing team would score a run. As we ran into the dugout after the third out my coach would say, "That's alright. We had to score one to win, anyway." In a situation which many people would lose heart, our coach would offer us a different perspective to give us hope.
Let me say this: sin has a purpose.
Wait! Before you delete this and start praying for my soul, let me explain. If we were perfect people, righteous in every aspect of our lives, what need would we have for God's grace? We wouldn't! Jesus said, "I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent" (Luke 5:32). The grace of God, paid for with the blood of Jesus Christ, is reserved for sinners. And that includes you! It includes me, too. It includes everyone!
So today, instead of sulking in your guilt and shame, rejoice! Don't rejoice that you sin or go out looking for opportunities to disobey God, but rejoice that you are a sinner who is called by Jesus into forgiveness and eternal life with God. Rejoice in the salvation offered to you by our hope-giving God.
1. When you sin, do you feel God's grace, or do you wallow in guilt and shame?
2. What is the difference between conviction and condemnation?
3. Do you need to change the way you respond to failure?
4. What does God say about our response to sin?