"By Any Other Name"
August 1, 2012
... For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. ... Romans 3:22b-25a
It was just a little thing in the scheme of things.
After all, it wasn't like her indiscretion would stop the sun from coming up or the flowers from blooming or rivers from flowing into the ocean.
And just what is this "little thing" we are talking about? It's the New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, mother who changed a few small items in her children's school records.
Let me explain. When this mom had worked for the school system, she had gotten hold of the superintendent's login password to the Northwestern Lehigh School District's computer system.
Recently, the mother used that password and changed a failing grade her daughter had received in 2010 to a "medical exception." Then, as long as she was there, she changed one of her son's grades from a 98 percent to 99.
When she was eventually caught, the mother admitted to the act. That's because, in her mind, it wasn't a big deal. She said it was "unethical" but not "illegal." She was surprised to find that in the eyes of the law, it was both. She was arrested and charged with a half dozen felony counts.
The mom posted bail and went home to think about how -- no matter what she might call it or how she might try to minimize the wrongness of her actions -- she still had broken the law.
You know, that mother isn't alone in trying to excuse herself. A great many people do the same.
They commit a sin and call it an "indiscretion," a "lapse in judgment," a "mistake," an "error," a "slip," a "blunder."
No matter how they may try to dismiss these violations of God's commandments, the Lord still calls these things a "sin." Indeed, Scripture tells us all humanity has sinned; all of us have failed to pass God's test of spiritual obedience, and all of us are destined for hell.
It was a hopeless situation.
The key word in that previous statement is the word "was." Seeing our helplessness, pitying our lostness, the Lord sent His Son into the world to give His life as the ransom price, which had to be paid, if we were to be forgiven and set free.
All of this means sin remains sin and sinners are still sinners, but some of those sinners are forgiven and are free to live a life, which praises God for His undeserved kindness.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive me those times when I try to justify myself and explain away my sins. Further, accept my thanks for Jesus' life, death and resurrection, which have given me a pardon for all I have done wrong. In thankfulness may I live out my days. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries