Three Little Words

MIF 17:4 (July-Aug 1985)

Three Little Words

Arthur F. Wilder

“Against thee, thee only, have / sinned” (Psalm 51:4)

One of the most difficult things to say to another is, “I was wrong.” But it is a sign of moral strength to do so, and when we get to the point where we can say “I have sinned,” God is especially pleased. Then He can work the miracle of salvation in the unbeliever, or restore one of His children to fellowship with Himself. Our difficulty is in being reluctant to admit that we have sinned, in spite of the declaration in Romans 3:23 that “All have sinned…” By human standards we are sometimes apt to think we are pretty good. But such standards are loose and by them we are just as often likely to condone our sins as condemn them. When we depart from God’s standards, one man’s opinion of right and wrong is about as good as another’s.

We hear much today about building a better society. But a sound structure cannot be built on a shaky foundation. Until men come to God in penitence and humility saying, “I have sinned,” there is no sound foundation on which to build a better society. What could be more relevant to today’s social needs than a Gospel which reveals to us our sinful condition and shows us the way of redemption? In spite of what we call scientific and social progress, man has a spiritual need which can only be satisfied when he confesses, repents, and forsakes his sin, seeking divine forgiveness.

There are many scriptural examples of men who have admitted their sinful condition and found God’s favor. For example, read about the prodigal son in Luke 15 and see how typical he is of the world today. Men rebel against order and moral restraint, thinking that they can have freedom in ignoring God and His Son, Jesus Christ. But the prodigal finally “came to himself” and returned to his father, saying, “I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight.” His father received him with compassion and restored him to his place in the family, a beautiful picture of the redemption that we have in Jesus Christ our Lord.

—Arthur F. Wilder