This Sunday is Palm Sunday and the sixth week of Lent, in which I will continue our “Saving Grace: Seven Facets of Salvation” sermon series with “Salvation is Being Saved from Sin.”
Sin is anything that stands in the way of our relationship with God and others: Where we have done something that is wrong. Where we have wronged others and we have wronged God in that relationship. A definition of a particular sin that I find helpful is “any thought, word, or deed that alienates or cuts us off from ourselves, others, and God.” A definition of sin as a present reality in human life is “the tendency to have thoughts, speak words, and do deeds that alienate or cut us off from ourselves, others, and God.” This facet of salvation is all about forgiveness and being able to start over. We do not have to remain stuck or trapped or condemned by our past. New beginnings are possible.
We find it in the Hebrew Scriptures. Psalm 32 says, “The one whose wrongdoing is forgiven, whose sin is covered over, is truly happy!”
In Romans 5:1-11, Paul writes, “Therefore, since we have been made righteous through [Jesus’] faithfulness, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand through him, and we boast in the hope of God’s glory.” It is the grace of God that makes us righteous or “justifies” us, as it can also be translated. This was a powerful experience in Paul’s life, and it is a powerful experience in ours as well. Paul writes in Philippians 3:13-14, “This one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”
What past or present transgression may be keeping you from moving forward? Is there something that stands in the way of your relationship with another person, with yourself, or with God? One of the dimensions of salvation is forgiveness and the opportunity to begin anew.
I look forward to exploring these ideas with you on this beautiful Palm Sunday — and discovering how we all might find those places in our lives in which forgiveness could bring us into a closer relationship with God.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,