The Wonder of the All

It’s easy to get bogged down in the muck of the social conflict around us. This morning, I find myself reflecting upon the vast expanse of a three-letter word: all.

One element of the many debates storming and swirling around us is the over-application of this word. Generalizations about people of some lifestyle or another and hyper-application of stereotypes and prejudices are simply the norm on most every side of most every debate.

We are, it seems, bent on making blanket statements. But there is one that jumps out at me this morning. It is one absolutely perfect use of the word and its fullest, most complete understanding. It is the beautifully simple statement of John the Apostle who identified himself often as “the one whom Jesus loved.”

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1.9

That word, “all,” is absolute. When we come to God and simply agree with Him about our failings – accepting that what He says is sin truly is sin – we are cleansed from ALL unrighteousness.

We can argue about the context of the passage and the various implications, but the fact remains. When we come to God – from whatever place we may be in life – and accept His assessment of our lives, ALL of our sin is forgiven and erased and covered.

That means that God’s grace – his free and undeserved favor – is great enough to cover ALL of my faults and failures and brokenness. And it’s great enough to cover yours too.

So, whether you have spent your life trying to be something you’re not or simply failing to be what you ought, His grace will cover it ALL.

Whether you are guilty of the vilest of perversions or the pinnacle of hypocrisy, His grace will cover it ALL.

For my friends whose lives are riddled with ungodly choices or lifestyles that don’t acknowledge the teachings of God’s Word, His grace will cover it ALL.

And for my friends whose self-righteous and arrogant condemnation of others lacks the very grace we proclaim, His grace will cover it ALL.

It’s like the wondrously simple old song put it,

Grace, grace, God’s grace

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within

Grace, grace, God’s grace

Grace that is greater than ALL my sin

Julia H. Johnston, “Grace Greater Than Our Sin”

The only condition is simple – “if we confess our sin.” To confess is simply to agree with God about our actions and decisions. And, if we will genuinely ask Him, He will show us what He thinks…in His own perfect time.

So, will you receive it for yourself?

Will you proclaim it to others?

No matter how big a mess your life may be, there is grace, abundant and free, to cover ALL of your mess. And theirs too.

What wonder in such a small, simple word: ALL.

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