Romans 5:19-21 – For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous. Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (RSV)
My friend Henry was an old saint with a special touch for babes in Christ. One particular day stands out in my mind, when Henry, our pastor, and I were having a chat in the church foyer.
Pastor asked Henry how he could possibly be so happy all the time. A smile rose in Henry's eyes as he answered, "Jesus is a better Saviour than you are a sinner." I laughed out loud. Pastor frowned. He shook his head and was close to pontificating. I knew we would soon hear his favourite verses, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5), and "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
Henry recognized the warning signs and saved us by ringing the "Let's-go-for-coffee" bell. Pastor drove. Along the way, we encountered a traffic accident with angry participants, fresh graffiti on the high-school wall, and splattered pumpkins just about everywhere. Pastor noted how, these days, sin was really on the increase.
That same look came into Henry's eyes. "I love that, because it means grace abounds all the more, Pastor." He quoted today's Scripture verbatim, and closed with "Jesus is a better Saviour than you are a sinner." I laughed out loud again, and, in the rear-view mirror, I saw a smile in Pastor's eyes. Grace was breaking through.
That day was more than twenty years ago. I came across that phrase again just recently, and I thought how wonderful it is that while the truth doesn't change, it does change us.
Prayer: Father, thank you that Jesus is better, than, well, everything, anything, or anyone. He is greater than our sin. As we confess our sins, Jesus is just and able to forgive them all, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Help us to reflect your light, as your glorious Son reflects you, being no respecter of persons, and forgiving all who come with sincere and repentant hearts. Amen.