When states first started letting people put messages on their license plates, it became a challenge to decipher the meaning of a tag. There was even a TV game show based on figuring out personalized tags. Often the messages are “cute,” like BOB4UA, meaning Bob is for the University of Alabama. Or ATCHR, suggesting perhaps the person is a teacher. I saw a tag the other day that was not hard to decipher, but it was hard to understand why someone would choose that message. The tag said SINNER. It made me wonder, what is the theology of the person who chose to proclaim this message on the vehicle?-
Was this person feeling guilty for being an employee of the IRS? Jesus compared the prayers of the Pharisee who prayed “with himself,” and “the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). The Jews hated publicans, but it was not necessarily his work as a tax collector that made him a sinner.
Perhaps this person is on the run. Solomon advises, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repaid” (Proverbs 13:20-21).
Perhaps this person just wants to call attention to the common plight of mankind: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Fortunately, this verse is not the end of the story, however. The next two verses remind us, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” (Romans 3:24-25).
An encounter with Jesus, obedience to Him, changes everything. When Jesus told Zacchaeus He was going to his house that day, “they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner” (Luke 19:7). The end result of the visit was repentance and restitution by Zacchaeus, and the declaration of Jesus, “This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:-10). Yes, we have sinned, but I thank God that Jesus gave himself so that we do not have to bear the consequences of our sins. FORGVN!