Monday, April 18, 2022

Anonymous Asks (193)

“What would you say to someone who thinks he is too sinful to be saved?”

I’d quote him the words of the apostle Paul: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

After all, prior to being saved, Paul beat and imprisoned believers and tried to make them blaspheme. As a member of Jewish leadership, he cast his vote against Christians when they were put to death by the Jews.

Can your friend top that?

The Worst Cases

The salvation God provided for us in Christ was designed to handle the very worst cases, and Paul very reasonably pictured himself right at the front of the queue.

But maybe it’s a different sort of sin that is troubling this person. In 1 Corinthians, Paul addresses other types of evil behavior, most of which he had probably never engaged in: sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, homosexuality, thievery, greed, drunkenness, blasphemy and swindling. Then he goes on to add, “Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” The death of Christ was sufficient to deal with lifetimes of habitual sin … and more. God has saved terrible people before and he will save terrible people again.

None Righteous

Again, in the book of Romans, Paul speaks about how sinful sinners can be, pulling together quotes from various Old Testament sources:

None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

What’s his point: that these people are all damned forever? No, it’s exactly the opposite. These are precisely the sort of people God is willing to justify by faith in Jesus Christ. They are the reason Christ came: because we could not save ourselves, could not keep God’s law, and couldn’t do anything to please him in our own strength. Whatever moral standard we may set for ourselves, apart from Christ we cannot keep it. Nobody can. “By works of the law no human being will be justified.”

99.99% Jesus

Nobody has ever yet gone to heaven for good behavior. Everyone God receives into his presence comes on a different basis entirely: he must trust God for his salvation.

This is the mistake people often make when they think about getting right with God. They imagine it requires cleaning up the self and presenting it to God when it’s in a little better shape. And of course that never happens. Such a strategy can never work. God knew we could not pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, so he made sure we didn’t have to.

You may have noticed a little quote at the top of the front page of the blog this month from a fellow named Paul Washer. He says this: “If salvation was 99.99% Jesus and 0.01% us, we would all be damned.” This is exactly what Paul is teaching in the book of Romans. A salvation that depended on me in even the tiniest measure would fail every time. But it doesn’t depend on me. It depends on Christ.

Bought by the Blood of Christ

One of the co-authors of this blog wrote these words back in 2014:

“If you are ‘in Christ’, then you are a saint — a holy one of God. You cannot be lost, you cannot be abandoned, and here’s the reason why: Because you’ve been bought by the blood of Christ, and for God to fail to take delivery of the goods would be an insult against his Son.

It says this in Romans 8:32, remember? ‘He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how will he not also with him freely give us all things?’

Now think: having poured out the blood of his beloved Son for you, will he hold back and say, ‘Well, I was thinking of saving you, but now I see you’re a little grubbier than I thought’? Or will he say, ‘When you asked for salvation, I said “Okay”, but now that you’re asking for sanctification, you’re asking too much’? Will he say, ‘Well, I gave my Son, but I’m not going to give you my Holy Spirit’? Or ‘Well, I saved you at unspeakable cost, but I don’t know if I want to spend any more time with you’?

No. Because to do so would be an insult against the price paid for you. Having paid so much, God is certain to take delivery of the goods.”

Salvation is not about how good or bad we are; it’s about how much the Father loves the Son. Put your trust in the Son of God and you have the love of the Father. It’s as simple as that.

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