I studied under a Christian scholar who reads three hundred books a year and presents the Christian message to audiences of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs. With all that experience, this professor told us the hardest biblical teaching for modern people to believe—that they are sinners. Many of them refuse to buy that age-old church teaching of original sin, that we’re born bad.
It seems rather depressing to look at yourself in the mirror every day and admit, “By nature, I’m not a good person.” Much more appealing are the self-esteem mantras of the modern age: “I’m wonderful, worthy, and good.”
Jesus, however, offers something even better than “good.” He offers sinners, humbled by their own struggles to love God and others, the best gift of all—perfection. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8,9).
We can’t lie and claim to be sinless, spectacular people. Yet the truth of our sinfulness doesn’t have to crush us if we end up with Jesus. We can confess to him, trusting that he will always be faithful and forgive us. We can walk away completely pure, rid of the shame of anything unrighteous we’ve done.
Those teachings—our sin and his salvation—keep us humble and happy. Who doesn’t want to end up like that?