Friday, June 22, 2007

Getting Rid of the Bad Stuff -- 1 John 1:9

Occasionally, I like to read Shell Silverstein's, A Light in the Attic. I enjoy his wit and wisdom, and his amusing rhymes often express important thoughts. For instance, this one that could illustrate on of Jesus' teachings: "Fancy Dive."

The fanciest dive that ever was dove
was done by Melissa of Coconut Grove.
She bounced on the board and flew into the air.
With a twist of her head and a twirl of her hair.
She did thirty-four jackknives, backflipped and spun,
quadruple gainered, and reach for the sun,
and then somersaulted nine times and a quarter --
and looked down and saw that the pool had no water.
Apparently, she had not learned that it is best to look before you leap. Jesus, in effect, was saying to those who would be his disciples to look before they leap when he said in Luke 14:28, "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it." Jesus had counted the cost of what he was doing and knew that it would lead to the cross. He wanted disciples who also understood this.
Silverstein also deals with the question of how to get rid of sin in our lives in this short poem called "Hinges."
If we had hinges on our heads
there wouldn't be no sin,
'cause we could take the bad stuff out
and leave the good stuff in.
We all need to take the bad stuff out and leave the good stuff in. since we don't have hinges, how can we do this? John's words in 1 John 1:9 can help: "If we confess our sins he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." He goes on to say, in chapter 2, "If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world."
In these verses, forgiveness and cleansing from sin is promised through the combined action of our confession and the atoning sacrifice of Christ. These come together at the communion table. What better place is there than this for us to confess our sins to Him and to receive the promised forgiveness through his shed blood? As he said in the upper room, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins." Therefore, in the words of Hebrews 4:16, Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

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