A couple weeks ago in my Sunday message, I recited the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. For Jesus’ audience on that day, this news that they were blessed was indeed “Good News” to their ears … and to their hearts.

It was probably the first time many of them had even considered that they might be blessed by God. Imagine that! No … seriously … imagine what your life would be like without knowing that you are valuable to God, that God loves you and that God forgives you. I can’t even imagine.

Richard Rohr’s theme this week for his daily email devotionals is “The Shadow of Original Sin.” In them, he has reminded me of how much the Beatitudes reveal the radical and earth-shattering truth that God is both the creator of all and the personal healer and savior of all.

As the words of the Beatitudes come out of Jesus’ mouth, they dispose of the long-held and heretical belief that God favors some over others; or that God’s love must be earned; or that God punishes us and might send us to hell. The Beatitudes counter all that “judgmental and punishing God” malarky, and instead tells us: “God loves you” just as you are. It’s called “Amazing Grace.” And because of it, you too are blessed.

There are many that still believe, ultimately, we are a cursed people. But Rohr sees it differently; he contends that God’s “Original Goodness” toward us, by creating us in the image of God, is far more powerful than original sin. Holding that we are “fallen” and broken people driven by our sinful nature, misses the truth that we are all blessed and loved beyond our imaginations, and God will never leave us or forsake us. Eternally.

Yes — the reality of our human existence includes our “fallen” and sinful nature. It comes from our own self-will. And it can be the primary influence in how we live our lives. We all know the truth of this statement.

But Good News! There is more to the story … just like there always is with God. God knew each one of us before we ever put on human skin, much less acquired our sinful nature. And it’s like God knew that we would need a power stronger than our own to overcome our sin. And so, God, in all God’s wisdom, created each one of us “in his image.”

With the image of God within us, we now have access to a power that redeems us of our sinful nature. God doesn’t eliminate our self-will, after all, who would we be without the me. But God brought a remedy for sin to earth. A man complete in himself, but also fully divine. God in the form of a man. The Son of God.

I personally experienced the unconditional redeeming love of Jesus as it battled and brought down sin within me that had grown to such an extent that only God, and God’s angels, could save me. As soon as I realized that only God could help me, I surrendered, and once again, God’s love won. It happens every time.

I still sin. Every day. But with Christ in my heart and the “original goodness” from God in my soul, sin will never beat me. Sin will never win. And that’s true for each and every person. We may not be able to eliminate our sin, but we can defeat it on a daily, or hourly, basis.

So that’s my case to you this week. Not only am I blessed by God and held in his hands forever, but so are you. God’s blessings are for everyone. And if you are suffering, or poor, or sick, or in pain, or hurting … or just plain old “missing something,” then you are especially blessed. And God is ready to show you how blessed you are … today … just ask Him.

In His Name, I am

Pastor Bob <><