And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him. Colossians 2:13-15
Years ago I was with a Christian man who was dying.
From all that I had known or been told about the man, he was a good fellow... one of the best. But now, as the end to his earthly life was coming, he had to get something off his chest. He told me how, when he was young -- maybe 75 years earlier -- he and a friend had switched the arrows at a country crossroads.
Switching arrows at a crossroad was his great sin.
At the time I thought in the scheme of things, that's not all that bad. Maybe you agree. It's not like he was a mass murderer or was selling drugs to kids on the edge of their school playground. On a 1-to-10 scale of serious sins, I thought this fellow's terrible transgression was maybe, at most, a two. No matter how I felt, this man felt differently. His youthful sin had, for decades, caused him a great deal of pain. He had, for almost three-quarters of a century, been burdened by the unknown results of what he had done.
As he said, "I've often wondered, Reverend, how many people went down the wrong road because of me?"
This leads me to ask, what's your special, secret sin? Understand, I don't want you to say it out loud. If you are with a bunch of people, I'm not asking you to make a confession to them. If you want, you can even pretend what I'm saying isn't applicable to you.
But it is applicable, isn't it?
You know your secret sin. Maybe it was something you got away with and nobody else knows about. But you know, don't you? You know, and that knowledge saddens, maybe sickens, you. That sin is proof you're not the person you want to be -- that you pretend to be in front of your loved ones.
Think for a moment: how would they feel if they knew? Their feelings about you would change, wouldn't they? What is it you've done? What is it that makes you ashamed to be you?
Yes, all of us have a dark side we try not to show to anyone else. We have a sinful side. Understand, we're not just lonely people in need of a friend; weak people who need to borrow a strong arm; ignorant people in need of education; lost people in need of direction.
We are sinners who need a Savior. We are the lost, in need of divine love and forgiveness.
We are the lost who need a Shepherd to lead us; we are the sick of soul who need a spiritual Physician; we are the damned who need a Deliverer. Nothing else can calm the sick feeling in our stomachs, can fill the hole that is in our soul -- no one other than Jesus. In Jesus, God makes us alive. In Jesus, God forgives us all our misdeeds.
That's what St. Paul said to the church in Colossae. That is what God says to you today.
In Jesus, God takes away all your sin and sin's punishment. In Jesus, your sins are forgiven; all your sins are forgotten.
Yes ... even that super-secret-locked-in-the-back-of-your-heart sin is taken away.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that all of my sins -- even my secret sins -- have been washed away by the Savior's blood. May I, in the freedom I have been given by Jesus' sacrifice, live a life which glorifies You. In His Name I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries