Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who Deserves Jesus

There are many people in the world and in history who have done heinous things.  We know the history of such bloodthirsty rulers like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin and how millions were killed at their direction.  We also know stories today of people who have done horrible things like murder and rape, even of young children.  Their actions rightly raise up feelings of righteous anger for the plight of their victims and rightly cry out for justice for their actions.  Many in the world and unfortunately many in the church even cheer for their damnation.  We relish the thought of eternal punishment for their crimes.  While earthly justice even to the point of capital punishment is appropriate for the most heinous of criminals, God does not desire that anyone should perish eternally.  There is no person who can out-sin God's grace if that person would come to Christ.  Some people feel that some people are so bad they do not deserve salvation.  Unfortunately, those people miss the whole point of why Jesus died on the cross.  The points I want to make today is that no one deserves salvation and that while all are unworthy, all are also welcome to come to the cross. 
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:14-16 NKJV
"Whoever" means whoever.  There is no qualifier.  There is no limit.  Anyone can come to Christ and be saved from their sins.  Anyone is anyone and includes everyone.  Jesus did not limit his invitation to those who would only sin to a certain amount.  We can not say that Jesus' invitation is not open to someone when Jesus Himself says it is open to everyone. 

Now some may say that God can harden someone's heart to not accept Jesus.  While that may be true, we have no way of know how or when God hardens someone's heart. How or why God would harden someone's heart is something wholly under the authority and knowledge of God.  It is never our place to ask God to harden someone's heart.  Furthermore, His hardening of someone's heart is a result of someone hardening their hearts against God.  Again, we can not pray for someone's heart to be hardened so that they can not be saved as it goes against God's will.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
Again "all" means all.  God desires that all should come to repentance.  If God desires all to come to repentance, then God desires whatever person you feel is too far gone or sinned way to badly to be saved to come to Him and repent.  You are praying against God's desires when you pray for anyone to be damned. 

We must recognize that Jesus died for all sins.
"Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation"— because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."  Mark 3:28-30 NKJV
Again we see the work "all."  Jesus says that all sins would be forgiven save one.  That one sin is the rejection of that forgiveness for all the other sins.  In other words, the only way to not be saved is to reject salvation.  The only way to not receive God's gift of grace is the refuse that gift.  Otherwise, all sins will be forgiven.  Again, "all" means all.  There are no exceptions other than rejection of that grace.

To think that God's grace has limits is to put limits on God and to believe that the work of Christ is somehow incomplete. Jesus died on the cross as complete payment for the sins of mankind.  We can not put limits on the payment he made. We must believe that Jesus died for all to believe that he died for any.  I say that because if you can question whether the sins of one person can be forgiven, you call into question every man's sin.  No one is without sin and considering our sins are ultimately against God, who are we to say which one is better or worse than any other?  Furthermore, if we believe that murder is unforgivable then how do we have confidence in our own salvation?  We, as Christians, sin while knowing that our sin is sending Christ to the cross.  Have any of us not sinned since we were saved? Have not any of us even planned sin since we were saved?  Can we then say we are not guilty of murder when we plan to commit an act that we know sent Jesus to the cross?  If God would judge the murder of an imperfect man eternally, then how much more would God judge one who sent His only begotten and perfect son to His death on the cross?  If murder is unpardonable, then each of us who are saved are unpardonable for what we do that we know sent His Son to the cross.  There is no sin so heinous that is not covered by the blood of Jesus other than not accepting that gift.

And we see now that the grace of God is open to all, now let us address who deserves that free gift.  The answer is simple, none of us do.  The Bible is clear that we are all unworthy.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  Romans 3:23 NKJV
We have all sinned.  We all fall short of God's standards. 
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NKJV
We all deserve eternal damnation for our sins.  But note the contrast here.  We all have sinned (Romans 3:23), we all deserve damnation (Romans 6:23a), but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23b).  We sin, we deserve, but God gifts us eternal life through Jesus.  We see that God's gift is not dependent on us or our actions.  it is dependent on God.  We can not out-sin God because our gift of salvation is premised on the generosity of God, not the heinousness of our sin.  Praise be to God!    Praise God that we rely on God's goodness for our salvation, not our pitiful attempts at righteousness.  We did nothing, God did it all and He did it while we were at our lowliest state.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. ut God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.  Romans 5:5-11 NKJV
Note how our salvation was totally dependent on God and not ourselves.  Christ died for us when we were without strength, ungodly, still sinners, and enemies of God.  That was our state when our sins were paid for.  That is the expanse of God's glory.  And why is did God make our salvation completely dependent on Him and the work of Jesus on the Cross?
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV
We were saved by the work of God alone so that God gets all the credit.  We have no right to boast in our salvation.  It is the gift of God and only the gift-giver can get credit for the gift. If you think that the sins of another are too great to be forgiven, you area implying that your sins are not.  In other words, you are boasting.  You are saying that God saved you because you are not as bad as that other person.  By implying the lack of worthiness for someone else, you imply that you have worthiness.  Someone can not have less worthiness than you if you do not believe you have worthiness.  By implying that you have worthiness, you are boasting.  You deserve salvation no more than anyone else, which is not at all.  Our salvation is a free gift of God out of His goodness. 

And that how amazing the goodness of God is.  God sent his son to make payment for our sins.  The wages of our sin was death, and Jesus paid that penalty.  If you are reading this and think that you sinned too much to be forgiven by God, please understand that is a measure of pride not humility and in the end what you will be condemned for you not understanding that.  No matter what you may have done, Jesus died for you.  No matter what anyone has done, Christ died for them.  Don't put limits on the grace and goodness of God but glorify God in how limitless His grace and goodness are.  Glorify God in that the heights of God's goodness far exceeds the depths of our unrighteousness. 

OH, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever:

To Him who alone does great wonders, For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who laid out the earth above the waters, For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who made great lights, For His mercy endures forever—

The sun to rule by day, For His mercy endures forever;

The moon and stars to rule by night, For His mercy endures forever.  Psalm 136:1-9 NKJV

1 comment:

  1. Awesome word, my Love!

    "ALL"!!!

    Psalm 136 is such a shout of his glory!! I love it!!

    ReplyDelete