August 2, 2011
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and, His Word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10
That's the name my grandmother called beer. Although she never drank the stuff, she knew that bread and beer have the same basic list of ingredients.
Liquid bread. As of last month, nobody in Russia is going to ever again confuse beer and bread. That's because Russia has finally ruled that beer is an alcoholic drink and not food.
Before the law was signed into being by President Dmitry Medvedev, beer was considered food and could be sold at any time by anybody to anyone.
Which is why it was a common sight to see people drinking beer as they went to work. It is also one of the reasons why alcoholism in Russia is out of control. According to the World Health Organization, beer consumption is double the established critical level.
In Russia alcohol had gone from use to abuse.
Alcoholism is Russia's sin, but it wasn't my grandmother's. Indeed, nobody could accuse my old "Grammie" of being a drunk. Her thimble-full of wine on Thanksgiving precluded that charge. But she -- wonderful woman that she was -- like me, like you, like all of humanity, had her share of sins.
There are a number of reasons why we are all such accomplished sinners. One of those reasons is the fact we were sinners before we were born; another is the world and Satan have had considerable time in developing a temptation which is special for you.
You may not be inclined toward drunkenness, but that doesn't let you off the hook. Paul's litany of things that are unacceptable to the practicing Christian is a long one. (See Galatians 5.) Look carefully and I'll bet you will find something in that list which comes close to tripping your trigger.
This is why all of us need to fall on the grace of God and pray, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner." Forgive my sin -- my personal, private, unique sin. Forgive me and make me into the servant You want me to be.
And of course, we should know that because of Jesus' blood shed on the cross, because Jesus has already paid our ransom we are forgiven and saved from all our sins, even those which are uniquely ours.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, it's pretty easy for me to point to the flaws, failings and sinful propensities of others. Help me recognize where I have fallen short of what You wish -- and repent of it. May I, a forgiven and changed individual, rise up forgiven, ready to amend my life and proclaim the Savior. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries