I belong to a large family. It’s not my immediate family. It’s a much larger family – a family of sinners.
The Bible states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23 (NKJV)).
The “all” in this passage means everyone – the seven plus billion people who call earth home.
I am thankful to be a sinner.
I am thankful because spiritually I am not better than anyone, and no one is my better. My faith informs me so: “In Christ’s family there can be no division … among us you are all equal,” (Galatians 3:28 (The Message)).
This truth keeps me humble.
I am thankful that I live in a nation that recognizes that same equality with my fellow citizens. In the Declaration of Independence it is stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
This truth keeps me proud.
If I’m tempted to think better of myself, the Bible is clear in more than one place that I belong to the family of sinners, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,” (I John 1:8, (NKJV)).
This truth keeps me grounded.
But sin isn’t the whole story or a final chapter.
There is a family that takes in sinners and deals with the reality of sin. It is the family of God.
To take on the day-to-day reality of sin, the Bible states:
[As a member of God’s family it], means that you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time … into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under the old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God, (Romans 6:12-14 (The Message)).
I turn my back to sin, not sinners.
If anyone boasts, ‘I love God,’ and goes on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love someone he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both, (I John 4: 20,21 (The Message)).
These truths keep me focused.
To take on the eternal consequences of sin, the Bible states:
My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond any shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, (I John 5:13 (The Message)).
This truth saved me.
My journey started with membership in a very large family – the family of sinners. It ended with a family that has room for all of us.
And that’s why I can say I am thankful to be a (saved) sinner.