It is written, “since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly [before the eyes of the world] as a [life-giving] sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation (propitiation) by His blood [to be received] through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness [which demands punishment for sin], because in His forbearance [His deliberate restraint] He passed over the sins previously committed [before Jesus’ crucifixion],” (Romans 3:23-25).
As I read this Scripture, I am reminded about a big problem in the church that needs to be corrected. This problem is transparency. What I mean about transparency is the underlining message of this piece of Scripture, and that message is that we have all sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God. We are all sinners, and the only difference between a sinner that has not known God yet and a Christian that commits a sin is that a Christian should know better. Oftentimes Christians can act worse than sinners and they forget that the person they are speaking to does not know about the transforming power of Jesus Christ or that they used to be just like them. Their struggles, their pain, their sorrow are all things that we dealt with before in the past and we left it at the foot of the cross where it belonged. It was Jesus Christ that released us from the slavery of our old sins and to be honest, we will always be fighting against our old sinful nature. We are all equal and we all fall short, period. This message of transparency and equality needs to be spoken about as a reminder to us all.
It is upon the lack of transparency with one another that leads us to be ashamed of our past and who we used to be. If we are ashamed of where we once were how could we share our testimony with another? How can we share the transforming power of Jesus Christ in our lives? The simple answer is that we cannot. If we try to position ourselves in a manner that we are better than someone else because we are saved and they are not, or if we gossip about someone’s past, how are we living a life of victory and humility? When we can come to terms with this simple truth the overall body of Christ would be in a better position than what it is currently in now. We have not only become a stumbling block for our fellow believers (Romans 14:13-23) but we are robbing the salvation of others because of our lack of transparency with them.
When we don’t let unbelievers know that we were once like them, they will not have the essential thing to bring them to Christ. This essential thing is “hope.” Our testimony brings hope in the lives of those who believe and are struggling with a problem or an addiction, or it brings hope for an unbeliever that thinks that they are too far gone to receive the love of Christ in their lives. So please, take Paul’s message to heart and understand the simple truth that we as believers we are not better than anyone else because even we all fall short. But remember that the foot of the cross is what unites us all. It allows us to see where we were and where Jesus has taken us. This is something to be joyful about and shared with everyone, regardless of how they may see you. This is what it means to be transparent with people and that is how the Gospel of Christ is shared.
Father, I pray for a movement of equality to come into the church and our lives. I pray that we can all understand that we are all equal and this message is clear in your word. Father, I know that we all fall short but I thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ in our lives and that you love us so much that you keep forgiving us of our trespasses against you. I pray for the discernment of the Holy Spirit within the church, I pray that this discernment can help bring the dry bones alive again and that a fire can be rekindled in our hearts. I pray that this fire can help us understand that without the foot of the cross we are all doomed and deserve condemnation, and upon this understanding that we should want to help and guide those around us that do not know Jesus yet. Let us break down any boundaries that we have placed in our hearts and minds and fully submit to your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!