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Communion Meditations (2016)

Sinful Nature

Originally scheduled for April 10

1 John 2:1 – 11

A primary difficulty for modern converts to Christianity is this: man, by his very nature, is sinful. It’s not just that we commit sins; we could probably come up with a good set of excuses for that. Certainly none of us has ever been free of beginners’ mistakes. It’s just that it’s not a “one-shot” thing; it’s a part of us. We try to deny it; remember Lucy telling Linus that she thought she made a mistake once, but she was wrong? We are human; we are sinners.

This wouldn’t be too much difficulty except for the fact that we can’t fix it. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make a sincere effort to fix what we can; restitution and forgiveness should be part of a Christian’s life. But it is necessary to recognize that we cannot fix our sinful nature — and therefore God must.

Perhaps the most discouraging thing of all is that just when we think we’ve gotten it sorted out, repented of and fixed as best we can — we repeat. This can be very unpleasant, but we need to remember that we have an advocate to present our case to God, not on the basis of what goodness we have but upon what sacrifice He has made.

Forgiveness is not without its problems, either. Just how is it that we know that we have been forgiven? Some people will tell you that forgiveness is only for the good people. We need to remember that “righteous sinners” is an oxymoron. Others will tell you that you need to be obedient to be forgiven. If you think about it, this makes no sense. If you are being obedient, by definition you wouldn’t have sinned. The reason it doesn’t work is that it confuses the result (obedience) with the cause (forgiveness.) It is quite true that if there is no obedience it is because you have not sought the forgiveness of God; you are still walking in sin. So just how is it that you know that you have been sufficiently obedient that God is in position to forgive you? You can test this. The apostle John tells us that you should be “walking in the light.” The symptom which tells you that you are is that you love your Christian brothers; we love one another.

The high example of this is Jesus Christ Himself.

·         Once and for all, Christ made the atonement sacrifice on which God for gives us.

·         Even as he made this sacrifice, hanging on the cross, he demonstrated that practice of “love one another.” Some of those jeering him that day — of whom he said, “Father forgive them” — were to become members of his church just a few weeks later.

Communion is first and foremost a reminder of that sacrifice he made for us. It is also an example of the obedience He had to his Father. Likewise it is the beacon of his love towards us. Remember your sins; but also remember your salvation. This is his body; this is his blood — take, eat in remembrance of Him.

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