Just As I Am
I have a Fernando Ortega rendition of "Just As I Am" in which Billy Graham's voice can be heard faintly in the background. Dr. Graham is reminiscing about a recent illness in which he believed he was dying. As he mused on his past he realized what a great sinner he has been and how much he needs God's daily forgiveness.
Billy Graham? A great sinner? Yes, and enough of a saint to know it.
We really ought to put an end to the notion that we’re okay. It's true that we ought to feel good about ourselves, but that confidence must come from the knowledge that we're greatly loved children of God and not that we're very good children. No, we’re always in the wrong. As Martin Luther said, we’re "dust and ashes and full of sin." That’s why Jesus taught us to pray every day, “Forgive us our trespasses.”
I read somewhere that John Newton suffered from dementia in his final years and often lamented the loss of his memory. “However,” he confided in a friend, “I do remember two things: “I am a great sinner, and Jesus is a great Savior.” Those are the only things anyone needs to know.
The first step in becoming a truly good person is to stop pretending that we’re any good and ask God to begin to make us as good as we can be. It takes a long time and there’ll be a lot of failures. (You can count on that!) But God is faithful and in his time, in his way, he’ll do it.
You can count on that as well!