By Stuart Powell
I sinned again.
The week had barely begun when I embraced the temptation and compromised my witness . . . again. It seems I’m continually choosing rebellion against God. No single temptation is entirely new; these are the same temptations I’ve fought for years. The Holy Spirit warns me. He corrects and confronts me about each temptation. But I keep stepping into the same trap over and over again. Don’t tell me it’s OK that I keep sinning against the creator. I’m willingly choosing my broken desire over the good plan of the sinless God.
As the guilt from our sin presses down, the Holy Spirit will prompt us again. He never uses words of condemnation. The Holy Spirit gently directs us to messages like the one that another sinner, John the apostle, wrote. It is a message that remains vital today:
If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8, 9, New English Translation).
God invites us to confess our sins to him . . . again. Confessing our sins is neither pleasant nor easy. Many times the words feel empty because they’ve been repeated so frequently. Yet, each time we make that confession, we are drawn back to the cross and this table.
At the Lord’s table, the place setting has been prepared in similar fashion for centuries: the loaf and the cup. The message is repeated again: Remember me. Remember my sacrificed body. Remember my innocent blood. The table, the meal is a repeating example of what John wrote: “[Jesus] is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.”
We need this time to remember Jesus’ faithfulness to God’s mission again. We need to focus on his righteousness, which God puts on every one of his disciples. We receive it again and again and again. Not because we are sinless, but because Jesus is faithful. Every believer is invited by Jesus to this table. To remember his sacrifice. To recall his ugly death. To ponder his burial. To celebrate his resurrection. To give thanks for his forgiveness and grace. Do this to remember Jesus . . . again.
Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.