As we continue our reflection on the creed, we find ourselves at the line that declares that we believe in the communion of saints. However, I am postponing our discussion of the saints until Nov. 2nd when we will reflect on the saints in our lives and our congregation as part of our celebration of All Saints Sunday. So this week, we will focus on one of the key claims of the gospel: the forgiveness of sins. This truly is gospel—good news—for us because we are all in need of forgiveness!
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
2My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 1:8-2:2
1. Acknowledging our sinfulness, asking for forgiveness and repenting (turning) from our sins is a central part of our understanding of what it means to “be saved.” In many traditions, evangelism begins with informing people of their sinfulness and need for salvation. Yet, most of us (within and without the church) rationalize or ignore our sinfulness. How does the church live as a testimony to the truth of our sinfulness and the hope of our forgiveness?
2. But what does this passage say to those of us within the church—those who are, in Paul’s words, “being saved”?
3. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer together, we ask that God forgive our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us. How is our forgiveness dependent on our ability to forgive?
4. Once again, we find beautiful words of faith directed toward a community that is fighting among itself! What difference should it make to us as a Christian community to say that we believe in the forgiveness of sins?
These are some of my thoughts this Wednesday. See you on Sunday!