Week beginning: 14th August, 2016

By Gerard Chrispin | Surrey

"For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty."

James 2:10-12 (NJKV)

Thinking we are good when even our thoughts make us guilty

It has been my privilege over the past 18 years to preach the gospel in prisons. I am struck by the relative honesty of many prisoners on a one-to-one basis when considering that we are all guilty sinners before God and need to be saved through personal faith in Jesus, who shed His blood for us.

On the negative side, I am at times flabbergasted by how men guilty of terrible crimes will look down in judgement on others whose crimes have been of a different kind. A triple killer could not believe that God could forgive certain sex offenders.

But are we not at times guilty of similar thinking? James makes it clear that either committing murder or committing adultery, which is not even a crime in the UK, make me equally guilty of breaking God's law. Jesus went further and taught that to hate or to lust in the heart – the mens rea without the actus reus – renders me guilty and deserving God's eternal punishment.

May we never settle for 'little sins'. Why? Because there are none. And may we always be grateful and surrendered to the only One 'who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree' (the cross) – 1 Peter 2:24 (NJKV).

Prayer Points:

1. Ask the Lord to be led away from temptation and delivered from the evil that displeases God and offends His holiness.
2. Be grateful and give thanks to the Lord that the Christian message is one of mercy and grace.
3. Ask for eyes to see and the strength to be diligent in using our privileged position as lawyers to do people the maximum good that we can!