“Throw Away the Chalk!”

At church this morning, the Pastor’s sermon was entitled “Throw Away the Chalk!”  The Pastor told a story that was similar to one here.  In the Pastor’s story, a lady saw a vision of a man who had lived a dissolute life when he was alive.  (This man was now dead.)  The man was required to put a chalk mark on stairs leading up to heaven for each sin that he did.  The man then saw his pastor coming down the stairs to get more chalk, for the pastor had to record more of his own sins!

My Pastor’s point this morning was that, on account of Jesus Christ, we can throw away the chalk.  I’m not entirely sure what this means.  Should we ignore our own sins?  There are people who believe that Jesus Christ has put us in a situation in which we are saved by grace, and so we do not need to stress out about our sins.  The people I’m thinking about here are not pro-sin or antinomian, mind you, but they believe that we can grow when we are free to make mistakes, without being afraid that God will condemn us for those mistakes.  Grace, in short, is an opportunity to grow.

Is there a place for us to enumerate our sins or character defects?  Perhaps doing so is destructive if it leads us to guilt and self-condemnation—-or at least the guilt and self-condemnation that do not lead to anywhere positive.  If guilt leads us to embrace God’s love and forgiveness or to become better people, then it may be a good thing. 

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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