We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.–1 John 5:18
I walked into Chipotle tonight. Scooting up to the counter, I considered my options. The vegetarian fajita burrito is a reasonably healthy, although still wonderful option. No, it’s not a “BGB” (big greasy burrito), the sort of thing I’m fond of asking Penny for around bedtime, but it still fills the void nicely.
“I’ll have a steak burrito, please,” I replied when asked for my order. The steak burrito, while hardly a heart-attack bomb and still not a BGB, certainly cannot be filed in the “healthy” department. Did I sin when I ordered that burrito? Although it won’t find the Prophet Nathan at my door, pointing at me and saying, “You are the man!” I’m pretty sure that my supper tonight was a sin. I know my struggle with weight and my tendency toward high blood pressure. I should have actually opted against any form of burrito and hit Subway for a veggie sandwich.
While I’m no logician, I can perform a deduction from this verse. If people who are born of God don’t sin, and I do sin, then, apparently, I am not born of God. Should I sign off now and collapse in despair? Perhaps not.
Like so many words, the Greek verb translated as “sin” here possesses multiple meanings. It could mean “commit any sin,” but that doesn’t make much sense given the context of the whole book. It can also mean, “be without a share in” or “miss the mark.”
The Chipotle worker who made my burrito tonight burst the first shell she used, leaving the burrito as an oozing, uneatable mess. Did that make her a burrito failure? Did she “miss the mark”? On that burrito she did fail and miss the mark, but ultimately, she made a good burrito that stays with me.
Perhaps that’s the lesson of this verse. Our lives in Christ are not pristine things. They’re like burritos, well stuffed, not quite perfect, but finally held together for good things.