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More than intent

Ever hear someone boast about how good they are? They go on and on about how they rise above the rest, or perhaps this 'great feat' after that 'great feat' is highlighted in great detail, all the while 'showing themselves off' to whoever will listen. The idea is that they want others to know just how 'good' they are - but in truth, those who brag much about their accomplished tasks are those who are actually pretty insecure. There is a great deal of freedom that comes when we admit we are errant in our pursuits, not really sure of where to go next, and our propensity to listen to the wrong voices in life. This is the beginning of recognizing we need a Savior!

If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God. (1 John 1:9 MSG)

WE cannot ever be free of sin. WE cannot ever put ourselves together, no matter how 'positive' we want to believe we can be. WE are sinners - plain and simple - complex, at war within, and mixed up in a whole lot of ways. The first step out of our sin might actually be to admit it is there! The second step is definitely for us to admit we cannot find our way out of it alone! Fools admit they have no sin, so if that is the case then to admit one is a sinner shows great wisdom! Rather than hide from our sin, or attempt to bring forth what we see as 'good' in our lives, isn't it about time we get really honest with ourselves and others? We ARE sinners - through and through - we cannot erase our sins anymore than we can erase the love of God that made a way for us to be free of that sin!

Sin needs to be purged - it isn't easily shed. If you don't know what it means to be purged, then maybe a little word study would be good for us today. The word means something akin to 'throwing up' these days, but at the root of this word is the idea of being free of guilt - not because we can just lay it down, but because we have been cleared of it. In much the same way a judge in a courtroom would declare us 'not guilty' and expunge our record of any sign of the offense, Christ 'clears us' of our sin and all the guilt that is associated with it. There is no longer any association of us with that sin - it is completely gone from record.

Yes, to purge means we get rid of something - free of whatever it was that was blocking the flow of grace and love in our lives. It also means we have a change of position - from guilty to free! Most of the time, a defendant will stand before the judge and make a declaration that he is 'not guilty'. The defense attorney has to show the jury and the judge just why this declaration is true. The prosecutor has another job - to prove there is evidence otherwise. There are times we'd like to just stand up in the face of our sin and say we aren't guilty - lying to ourselves about the truth of our guilt. This isn't going to get us free of that sin - it is just going to keep us bound by the sin a little longer.

Sin is a tricky foe - it knows how to bind us up very tightly - but it also knows how to let go when there is a force more powerful than it is who declares us not guilty! Jesus is that force - his power is all powerful. His grace is all searching. His cleansing is all-purging. It goes much deeper than any 'intent' of our heart to be right and good. His grace produces a 'freeing' of our lives from whatever has been blocking us from really being 'good'. Herein is truth - we ARE sinners in the need of a Savior. Purging is only possible because there is one more powerful than the blockage of sin that keeps us from freely enjoying God's presence. Just sayin!

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