Very Last Sin

“No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.” – 1 John 3:6 NRSV

In 2073, when I’m 113 years old, I will commit my very last sin.

I’m going to walk out to the food replicator and order up a nice big plate of nachos. From the other room, my wife will call out, “What are you eating, dear? That had better be a health drink.”

“Of course dear,” I’ll say, as I sit down at the kitchen table and place one enormous chip filled with cheesy goopy stuff into my mouth.

And then I’ll just die. From old age.

Now on the one hand, that seems like a pretty good way to go. Eating some nachos, my wife nearby. It was a good life. But did you catch it? There, just before I kicked off this mortal coil, I broke a commandment. I lied.

I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened. Too bad I had to ruin that special moment by sinning.

Here’s the question: Did I die a Christian, or a sinner?

1 John 3:6, above, makes it pretty clear. You’re either in or you’re out. You’re either a sinner or an “abider”. Certainly there are Christians of various denominations that take this literally. I know some who claim that once you are a Christian it’s impossible to sin anymore. You aren’t just “saved”, you receive “Christian Perfection” all at once. My experience doesn’t bear that out. I see perfection as a goal for our lifelong spiritual journeys.

What about you? What do you think your last sin will be? Will it be a lie? Maybe you’ll steal something, or disrespect God or someone else? Is selfishness a sin? If it is, then you and I have some issues to face. Am I right?

Well, the good news is that several other translations of the scripture read a little differently. Many translations say if you “keep sinning” you won’t abide with God. In other words, it’s not just a one time deal. If you make sin an ongoing part of your life, it becomes very difficult to remain part of the Body of Christ.

So that would mean you’re not booted out for every single transgression. Instead, it means that if sin is a pattern in your life, it’s very difficult for Christ to be the pattern of your life.

That puts some things into perspective for me. If I’ve got a good 65 years left in my life (one can hope!), what kind of a pattern do I want to follow? I may not live perfectly, but I want to live intentionally.

Interestingly enough, my very last sin may not have changed. After all, lying about nachos is more like a little white lie.  And at 113, I say I deserve them.

Maybe it’s “Nacho” last sin to be so concerned about.

It’s the ones between now and then that really matter.

Have a great week,

Mitch

(Updated)

Lunchtimeless.

 

crowded-restaurant

A couple work friends and I went out for lunch today.

We talked about haunted houses, and movies, and church, and favorite restaurants.

Lots of laughter in between mouthfuls of Beef Teriyaki.

Later, one friend was talking about the first 45 record they ever bought. (Crimson and Clover)

So I mentioned my first album I ever paid for. (It was a Blondie record)

And our other friend shared their first music purchase, a cassette.  (New Kids On The Block!)

It was only then that it occurred to me to ask:

“Hey, how old are you two?”

The friend across from me was 56.

The friend to my right was 34.

And I’m 44

This was not the first time the three of us had shared a meal, but it was the first time I realized…

There are at least 10 years separating each of us.

Three friends.  Three generations.

A Baby Boomer, a Gen-Xer, and  a Millenial.

I thought this kind of thing wasn’t supposed to happen.

Aren’t Baby Boomers supposed to look down on Gen Xers?  Aren’t Gen Xers supposed to be rolling their eyes back at them?

Aren’t Millenials supposed to be at the gym, or doing something Hipsterish?

Apparently not.  At least not during lunch today.

Today the differences in our ages were apparent, but not as obstacles between us.

They were perspectives.  Sources of wisdom from different starting points.

A passage from Psalm 148 says

Young men and women alike,
old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.

Now, I wouldn’t call any of us necessarily old, or particularly young,

but even though it might have looked like we were just eating, I think we were praising the name of the Lord, too.

There was a fourth with us in that booth, you see,

celebrating the joy of Christian community,

who is far older than the rest of us

combined.

 

Have a great week,

 

Mitch

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