Have you ever thought of sin as hope? Barbara Brown Taylor, in her book Speaking of Sin, does just that. In fact, she asserts that “sin is our only hope.” She writes
[S]in is our only hope, because the recognition that something is wrong is the first step toward setting it right again. There is no help for those who admit no need of help. There is no repair for those who insist that nothing is broken, and there is no hope of transformation for a world whose inhabitants accept that it is sadly but irreversibly wrecked. (Pg. 59)
When we realize the distance between where we are and where God wants us to be, then we can make a choice. Will we continue to live as we always have and stay in the brokenness called sin? Or will we change ourselves and our way of life and participate in the work of transformation called repentance?
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he reminds us that as followers of Jesus we are no longer slaves to sin. We have the power to make the right choices with God’s grace. Grace is more than forgiveness. It also is what Taylor calls “the mysterious strength” God gives those of us who are committed to the work of transformation. (Pg. 85)
We draw on the power of grace whenever we remember our baptism and its vivid imagery of dying to sin and being alive for God in Christ (Romans 6:11). We draw on that power through prayer that deepens our relationship with God. We draw on that power in our faith community as together we confess our sin in whatever form it takes. The church supports us as we leave sin behind and are restored to abundant life. Together we “follow Christ into the startling freedom of new life.” (Pg. 86)
As we celebrate Independence Day this Friday, I encourage you to take a moment and reflect on what it means to you to be living in freedom from sin. In the same way living as citizens in a free country involves responsibility, so does living in grace. We are called to follow Jesus. We are called to take responsibility for our actions. We are called to make wise choices and live into the newness of life that God promises. May it be so.
Happy Independence Day!
[Y]ou also should consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus. Sin will have no power over you, because you aren’t under Law but under grace. But now that you have been set free from sin and become slaves to God, you have the consequence of a holy life, and the outcome is eternal life.– Romans 6:11, 14, 22