Originally scheduled for July 15
It is a fact that Christianity puts forth what
is most likely the most sour view of the human race of all major
religions. We hold that all human beings are sinners; they are
fallen — which means they are capable of great goodness and also of
terrible things. But holding this view does make life more
acceptable for the Christian:
When somebody let you down,
personally, it lessens the blow to know that that person — like you
— is a sinner. You’re not perfect either.
If someone you admire, particularly
in the church, is found out to be stumbling in his walk with the
Lord, you explain it in much the same way. We are all sinners; none
of us are perfect — his problem is that he was found out.
Often enough the problem is
impersonal. You see the accused in the courtroom handcuffed and
shackled. Perhaps you can even sympathize with why he did it. So you
say, “There but for the grace of God go I.”
It is a fact: we are all fallen — including the
guy in your bathroom mirror. But have you ever asked yourself what
God should do about this? Think about this for a while:
What do you do with spoiled milk? You
throw it out. God has a bunch of spoiled sinners on his hands;
should he just chuck us into outer space and start all over again?
If you find a new car and discover a
defect in it, you take it back to the dealer to get it fixed. Okay;
where does God take his defective humans?
If you can’t take it back, you at
least take the precaution of never buying one of those again. And
yet God lets us have children who turn out to be sinners just as
well. Should he take away our breeding rights?
These questions reflect the righteousness of
God. But God is not only righteousness — God is love. See then what
God has done in his mercy for his spoiled, defective and indeed
He paid the price of our sin. He is
our atonement sacrifice — and that’s what we celebrate when we take
More than that, he promises that he
will take us home to himself at the resurrection of the dead. He’s
not going to treat us like some sort of stinking pariah, he’s going
to treat us like we are his children.
Therefore, take this Communion in a worthy
manner. Be a penitent sinner and examine yourself, confessing your
sins and seeking his forgiveness. It is a grand and serious matter;
do it with all solemnity.