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By Rich Peterson

There’s a line from the song entitled Stained Glass Masquerade by Casting Crowns that asks a very good question regarding the need for Christian authenticity:

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples?

The brokenhearted, the hurt, the outcast, the beggar, the world at large living in ugly pain and despair wants to know –

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples?

People today, like people of all time and people everywhere, want to know that God is real, and that this real God can make a real difference in real life.

What seems to be of utmost importance to people these days is that this real God has made a real difference in your real life.

A whole lot of people are asking believers a very real question: Is there anything positive, and not plastic, to this thing we call Christianity?

As followers of Jesus, we would do well to stop pretending we have it all together and admit that we have a long way to go on our journey from plastic pretenders to genuine Christians.

  •  The path from fake to authentic may start with our admission that none of us is perfect.

 So, we confess:

  1. We all have our struggles (1 Jn. 1:8)

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

No matter how spiritually mature you become, no matter how far you travel in your spiritual journey, your battle with sin will never completely go away. This is God’s diagnosis of our hearts, and true for every follower of Jesus Christ. The more we put on an image that our battle with sin has ceased, the less God’s truth is living in us.

  1. We all have our stains (1 Jn. 1:9)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Confession isn’t just admitting that we’re sinners, but it’s specifically naming our sins before God, what in the 12-step movement they call doing a searching and fearless moral inventory. When we confess our sins, God forgives and purifies.

  1. We all have our secrets (1 Jn. 1:10)

10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

It might be helpful in our formulation of authentic relationships to admit WE ARE NOT PERFECT, whatever it may look like from the outside!

  1. We all have need for an “atoning sacrifice (1 Jn. 2:1-2)

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Lest all this emphasis on authenticity lead people think that it’s okay with God if we sin. John wants to make sure he emphasizes that sin is still wrong, that even though we’ll keep struggling our whole lives, that’s not an excuse to give in. John’s writing his letter to help us lead lives that move us forward in the spiritual journey, not lives that stall us in our sins or move us backwards in rebellion.

But he also wants us to know that there is provision for our sins, that Jesus Christ is “the one who speaks to the Father in our defense.” The word here literally means “advocate,” and it was a legal term that described an attorney being called to the aid of someone who’s accused of a crime. Yet this isn’t a shady defense attorney who’s our advocate looking for a loophole, it’s Jesus Christ himself, the righteous One, the One who never sinned, who never broke God’s laws or disobeyed God’s ways. He’s the One who stands as our advocate when we sin, he’s the only One who qualifies to serve as our Advocate. But not only does Jesus stand between God and us, Jesus stands in our place as “the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

Only the phony Pharisees refused to believe that Jesus was enough. Don’t be a phony Pharisee thinking you don’t need what Jesus has to offer – you do need Jesus’ forgiveness, and Jesus’ forgiveness is enough!

Let the awareness of your brokenness lead you to the wholeness you can only find in Jesus.


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