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For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24)

I distinctly remember the first time as a child I felt it necessary to admit my guilt. My mother was inquiring who had spilled milk in the kitchen and hadn’t cleaned it up. Having two younger siblings, I was in the perfect position to “plead the fifth.” All I had to do was keep my mouth closed and allow one of my sisters to take the blame, but no one would admit it. My mother knew it was one of us, because we didn’t have an inside dog or cat to clean up the evidence. Plainly, it was one of us and it was clear that no one would leave the kitchen until the truth came out. I couldn’t hold my confession any longer and blurted out, “I did it!” My mother smiled and said, “I knew you did it, but I was just waiting for you to admit it.”

That is how our Heavenly Father sees us. He knows our guilt and our sinful bent to hide our sin. Time and time again, He provides opportunities for us to “fess up” and experience true cleansing and renewed fellowship with Him, but still we resist. Admitting our sin is the first step in the repentance process. Recognizing our fallen condition and alienation from the Father will build until we become broken within through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Only then are we in the position to move forward from our four-wheeled, bogged down circumstance onto solid ground. 

The passage today described both bad and good news. First, the bad is revealed clearly that our natural position is that of sinner, falling short of the glory of God. In fact, the very word for “sin” in the New Testament means to “miss the mark.” The good news is much better than the bad. Just as all have sinned, all can be justified through the proactive actions of Christ on our behalf. Just look at those lavish phrases: “justified freely;” “his grace;” “redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” The very moment we admit our sin, the cover-up of our sin, and cry out to Jesus for what only He can provide, we are made right. That is what justification means. Now, who spilled the milk and is trying to hide it?

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