A leading candidate in the current presidential melee raised eyebrows last summer when, while trying to convince religious conservative voters that he’s actually one of them (a surprise to many), he casually commented that he could not remember ever asking for God’s forgiveness, nor really even needing to. He explained that “when I do something wrong, I just try to make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture.”
It would seem that his claim misses the essence of sin, since (a) nobody except Jesus has ever been sinless, and (b) by definition, sin is an offense against God. God doesn’t need to be “brought into the picture”; He’s already in it. Further, there’s nothing any of us can do to undo our sin, to “make it right”. That was the reason we needed a Savior.
The brash piety of the politician stands in stark contrast with the humility and gratitude of the apostle Paul, who arguably had a much better track record than any of us: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16) The reality is that even “the best” of us desperately need God’s forgiveness. And it is only when we recognize that we’re all “the worst of sinners” that we embrace the one remedy that God has provided.
This was originally published in the "Salt & Light" column of the March 8 Intertown Record.