“The Lord knows my heart.”

“Yes, he does. Doesn’t that bother you?”

Have you ever justified yourself by misquoting scripture, saying “Christ nailed my sins to his cross, so that I am not under law, but under grace?” Did you favorably compare your “little” sin with someone else’s big sin? Did you say, “the good I have done outweighs the bad?” Or, did you wallow hopelessly in guilt, sure that it is in your nature to sin again.

In 1 John 1:8-10, the apostle referred to people with sin in their lives as “we.” Not “they,” not “you” — “We!”

May I tell you a secret — just between you and me? I have sinned. Truth be told, I frequently hear that still small voice within me saying, “You have left the planned route. Do you want to receive updated directions?” When I say yes, I am often told, “Make a U-turn.”

The bad news is that all have sinned; and, the wages of sin is death — that is, separation from our source of life, which is God. When you have the world, the flesh, and the devil provoking you to disobey God’s commandments, your will power is overmatched by a formidable array of forces. The devil knows human weaknesses; so, he attacks you by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

The good news is that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ can have everlasting life — a life that begins the moment we receive him as savior. His spirit comes into the believer’s life with guidance, love, peace and power.

We remain subject to temptation because God allows us free will. But, he empowers us to overcome the the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. The devil is a liar. If we stumble, a U-turn brings us back into fellowship with the Lord.

When we receive God’s love, it is so abundant that it saturates our very being, flows through us to others, and back to him. God is love. Our lives are cleansed by the love found in the living word. Our cup overflows with his love, so that from our innermost being flows rivers of living waters; and we leave in our wake a trail of goodness and mercy wherever we go. And love — unless we dam the flow — overcomes the multitude of sin. It is faith in the Word of God that opens the floodgates of heaven. We are not saved by doing good; we are saved to do good.

This is Good Friday because this is the day we commemorate Jesus Christ’s victory over sin by becoming sin and dying on the cross so that we can be adopted as children of God.

Homer McQueen serves as assistant pastor of Mt. Carmel Church of God in Christ, secretary at In His Shadow Outreach Ministries, chaplain for the Sherman District Parole Office, ministry volunteer for the Texas Youth Commission and Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a part-time pharmacist, and a full-time husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.