Mistakes. Poor judgment calls. Transgressions. Errors. Veering off the path. Blunders. Slip-ups. Oversights. Lapses. Misunderstandings.

The thesaurus holds many words for sin.

And no matter what the label, everyone sins.

We can’t help it. We’re human. No matter how hard I try, I will always mess up somewhere along the journey, whether in thought or deed or motivation.


Never going to happen. God knows that about me. I can’t hide from Him—even though some days I want to bury what I’ve done or thought or said.

“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18 NIV).

That should be my life verse. I try and try and try and never reach the bar. I never will.

Yet God demands perfection because He is holy and righteous and perfect. Those magnificent attributes render Him unable to stand any of my sins—or whatever label I choose to slap on my transgressions.

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Do I give up? Or try harder? Find a mentor? Lock myself away? Promise to be better?

Thankfully, none of those things. My answer lies in redemption.

Redemption, “the act of saving something or somebody from a declined, dilapidated, or corrupted state and restoring it, him, or her to a better condition” (Encarta Dictionary) is not mine to reach for or attain.

Redemption comes from the Lord and His sacrifice. His atonement for what I’ll never be. A free gift to me that cost Him everything.

“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17).

If I choose to accept this gift of righteousness, is there a limit on the number of sins blanketed by His blood? Are there sins too large, too deep, too ugly that will show through black no matter how much white He paints over me?

No. Because He doesn’t paint over my sins at all, He wipes them clean.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). From all unrighteousness. All.

Bottom line. I screw up. He forgives. And the more He forgives, the more He loves, the more He coats me in His redemptive blood, the less I sin. And not because of anything I’ve done. Anything good in me belongs to Him alone.

What better time than the Christmas season, when Jesus came to be our atonement, to meditate on the True Gift of redemption.

All that is required of me is acceptance. I have to lift The Gift from His outstretched hands and claim His atonement. It’s like winning the life lottery. The ticket does me no good until I cash in the winning numbers. I need to trade my sin for His perfection.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16, 17).

Picture me, holding up this banner. Not at a football game, but at the game that is your life and mine.

Now, what will you do with it?

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