Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Power of Grace

There are few sentences in our modern Christian vocabulary more pernicious than "We are all sinners." It may in fact be true that we all sin, but our sinning is not part of our identity nor is it inevitable.

Because Christ gave his life for us on the cross we are free from slavery to sin, and the answer to the question who are we is, we are children of God. We have been reborn. And as St. John tells us

whoever is begotten of God conquers the world.

Note that he does not say "will conquer" in the future, but "conquers", present tense, the world.

To say we love God is not merely a statement about affect or emotion. It is a statement about action.

For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments.

And here he is not just talking about the ten, but all the things that we are commanded in the New Testament to do.

To say as a statement of fact "We are all sinner" is to deny the power of God's grace and surrender to the world. The more accurate and honest statement for the Christian is

I am a child of God who chooses to sin.

Today's first reading reminds us that God has already given us the victory,

And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.

Again you should note that this is written in the present tense or it can be translated in the past, "the victory that has conquered the world." In either case the victory is not something in the distant future accessible only in the next life. Through faith we can embrace the victory now and live as children of God, and choose with the help of God's grace to keep his commandments.

On this 8th day of 2015 let us embrace the promise, embrace the victory, keep his commandments, and proclaim ourselves to be born again children of the Father.