Connecting People to Jesus



“One Size Fits All”


Prayer:  Lord Jesus, You took on our sins when You had none of Your own.  You suffered the wrath of God we deserve.  You died our death and have given us Your life.  Strengthen us in the comfort of Your forgiveness that we would be able to walk faithfully in Your commandment to love one another.  Amen.


Scripture: James 5:16

“Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”


Devotional – “One Size Fits All”

Some time ago I watched a special on television about the incredible train system in Japan that transports over 40 million passengers daily.  To put that in perspective, in America, New York is by far the leader in daily rail transportation, and New York only transports a little over 5.5 mission passengers a day.  As of 2016, Los Angeles was the runner up, transporting just under 350,000 riders per day.  Forty-five of the fifty-one busiest train stations in the world are located in Japan – including the #1 busiest train station, Shinjuku Station – and Japan boasts the longest train bridge in the world.  Needless to say, the Japanese take their rail transportation very seriously.

In 2017, the Japanese rail system went viral on the internet for a pretty astonishing reason.  The Tsukuba Express rail line, which travels between Tokyo and the city of Tsukuba, was supposed to leave the station at 9:44:40am.  Yes, that’s right, not 9:44am, but 9:44 and 40 seconds, to the second.  If you know anything about Japanese culture and their high priority on efficiency, this should not be a surprise.  On this particular morning, the driver of the Tsukuba Express failed to read the schedule properly, and ended up leaving at 9:44:20am – a whole twenty seconds early.  Before the day was over, the company put out an official statement saying, “We deeply apologize for the severe inconvenience imposed upon our customers.”

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking it’s a bit much to issue a formal public apology for running twenty seconds early.  Even though it would still strike me as over the top, it would be a bit more understandable if the train was apologizing for running twenty seconds late.  At the same time, however, there is something to be said for being quick to apologize for even the small stuff.  God certainly has something to say about it in His Word.

God says in our text for today from James 5:16, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”  True healing in our heart and spirit comes hand in hand with confessing our sins to those we have hurt.  Sin is always first against God, but those sins against God have ramifications on others around us, big or small.

We often have a tendency of measuring sin.  We tend to not worry about apologizing ourselves or expecting an apology from someone else over a small sin.  However, Jesus never made a distinction between small sins and big ones.  Sure, the consequences of some sins may be small in comparison to others, but in God’s eyes, sin is sin, imperfect is imperfect.  There is a danger to dismissing sin because it seems inconsequential.  This is why Jesus teaches in Matthew 7, “Why do you see the speck (small sin) that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log (big sin) that is in your own eye?”  Whenever we try and weigh sins, we lose, because the scales will never tip in our favor.

Jesus warned His disciples in Luke 12:1, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.”  The Pharisees made mountains out of molehills and molehills out of mountains, and in the process, made hypocrites of themselves.  Jesus warns his disciples that even the smallest false teaching, the smallest sin, is like leaven; it will grow.  Better to confess even the smallest sins while they are still small.  No doubt these words of Jesus were in the mind of the former Pharisee Paul when he later wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Proverbs 16:18-19 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.” When we are lowly in spirit and dare to look silly by confessing and asking for others’ forgiveness for even the smallest of sins, our pride is kept in check.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Remembering all that we have already been forgiven by God in Christ is how we are able to bring ourselves to practice that prayerful confession of sins with each other so that we might be healed.  If we are finding it difficult to apologize for even the small things, then we have forgotten the cross our Lord suffered on for our most grievous sins.  All sin is first a sin against God, and if our heart is first right with God through repentance and faith in the Gospel, then our hearts will be at peace, our pride brought low, and we will gladly confess and apologize for our sins and gladly forgive others as we have been forgiven.

There is no sin, big or small, that cannot be forgiven by the love of God given in Christ Jesus.  Much like sin, so is God’s grace – one size fits all.

Thanks for spending time with me today in God’s Word, and remember, that God has forgiven yesterday, is with you today, and has already taken care of tomorrow.  Amen.