For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” (Romans 3:23 – 24, NLT)
Sometimes, we think evil looks like Darth Vader, but more often than not, evil and wickedness look more like Alex Murdaugh. Perhaps it’s easier to live in a broken world if we don’t have to take a good hard look in the mirror at our own sinfulness. But, when we become a part of the Covenant Community through our baptism, we must be able to first answer this question for ourselves:
Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?
We must be able to say “I do” before professing our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.
The Bible teaches that sin is a condition, not simply a list of certain acts that we call “sins.” Sin is the inevitable state or circumstance in which ALL of our lives are lived. No one is outside of this reality.
God is the only one who can forgive us and free us from the guilt and punishment of sin. God’s gracious forgiveness, made available to us through Christ, comes to us in baptism and is confirmed by faith through grace and grace alone. This is why Paul writes in Romans 3:23, “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
When I lived in California, I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Tolerance, a multi-media museum dedicated to helping its visitors examine racism and prejudice around the world with a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust. In short, it is a museum created to help us understand our capacity to sin and do harm to one another.
When you arrive, there are two doors; one door is labeled “Prejudiced” and the other “Unprejudiced.” The door labeled unprejudiced leads you back out to the street; emphasizing the bias and sin that we all carry, consciously or not. The only door that leads into the Museum is the prejudiced one.
In the same way, the only door that leads to new life in Christ is the one marked repentance.
Let us pray: O Holy God, this Lent may we acknowledge that we need Jesus by remembering daily to renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of our sin so that we may also experience the joy of living a new life in and through your Son’s love for us. We give you praise that you can redeem even the most wicked and evil among us – and none of us are too far gone for your amazing, saving grace. Amen.
About Rev. Abi Foerster
Abi serves as the senior pastor of St. Thomas, is married to Lacy and mother to Levi, and is an unashamed "work in progress” in full need of God’s grace through repentance.