Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. Ephesians 2:4-5
A well-known television pastor has stated, “Sin is a condition before it becomes action.” This is a helpful statement, for it distinguishes between what a person is by nature – sinful, that is – and what outward behavior results from it in words and deeds. The latter include words and works of commission, and also of omission; that is, the failure to say and do what is right. The time-honored, still helpful and still valid, distinction is original sin and actual sin.
People going about to solve human problems or improve society often fail to take human sinfulness into consideration. They assume that everyone is good, or potentially good, by nature; they are apt to overlook original sin. Their fond belief is that people, essentially the good ones, need only be shown or taught what is good and they will do it. Every system, whether in economics (socialism, for example) or in education, based on the supposed innate goodness of people will eventually stagger to failure. Its promoters fail to take sin into account – our tendency toward selfishness, pride, greed, laziness, sexual impurity, and all kindred vices.
Original sin is a fact, and likewise is actual sin, flowing from this condition. Both are well documented in the Bible. Both are there described as leading to the wars and woes of mankind. Both are clearly revealed as leading to God’s displeasure and as barring a person’s right relation to God for time and for eternity.
But God acted in grace and mercy. His saving act is briefly summed up in the sending of His Son, the holy and innocent Jesus, to atone for our sin, both original and actual. His sin-forgiving merit is imparted to us through faith, which the Holy Spirit creates through the Gospel and Holy Baptism, sustaining it through the same Word and the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
This is how we are freed from sin and re-created into new beings who love God and their neighbor.
PRAYER: O Lord God, I have sinned often. Forgive me and help me to become more like my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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