Wanted: Sinners!

Today’s reading is Luke 5.

I remember talking to a man who had decided to pursue Hinduism. He told me, “I wanted to be a Christian, but I’m not good enough for that.” I wish I had known then what I know now. I would have told Him about the Great Physician. As a doctor is looking for sick people, not well people, Jesus didn’t come to call the righteous, the holy, the godly, the good enough. He came looking for sinners. He came to call sinners. He came to call those who are not good enough. No doubt, He calls us unto repentance. He doesn’t call us to linger in our own sinfulness. But Jesus isn’t roaming the streets looking for the righteous. He’s looking for sinners like me. He’s looking for sinners like you. Praise the Lord! Let’s answer His call.

Next week’s reading is Luke 6.

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Calling Sinners

Today’s reading is Matthew 9.

We must all remember what Jesus declared was His mission: “I desire equity, not elitism. For I came not to call the mainstream, but the marginalized.” Wait. Sorry. That’s not it. “I desire empowerment, not oppression. For I came not to call the privileged, but the disenfranchised.” Hold on. That’s not it either. I’m not sure what is wrong with me today. He said, “I desire justice, not inequity. For I came not to call the powerful, but the vulnerable.” Nope. That’s not it either. Alright, let me just go back, read it, and quote it word for word: “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Don’t misunderstand me. I believe Jesus likes equity, empowerment, and justice. But that wasn’t His mission. His mission was salvation. It is often the marginalized, disenfranchised, and vulnerable who have nothing left to lose and therefore are willing to see that they are sinners. That’s why those were the classes that often responded to Jesus, though even they ultimately cried “Crucify Him!” But Jesus came to call sinners. And that is good news for me, because that is what I am. I’m a sinner. How about you? If you are clamoring for social equity, empowerment, and justice, I don’t know that Jesus has what you are looking for. If, on the other hand, you are longing for forgiveness, redemption, and salvation from your sins, Jesus is calling you. Why not respond?

Tomorrow’s reading is Matthew 10.

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Righteous Requirement of the Law

Today’s reading is Romans 8.

Many misunderstand Romans 8:4 when it talks about how the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us through Jesus Christ. It is not, as many suspect, that Jesus’s perfectly righteous life is imputed to us and through His perfect life the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled. As shocking as it may seem to you, based on the flow and context of Romans, the righteous requirement of the law here is not a perfectly righteous life. In Romans 1:32, we were told God’s righteous decree is that sinners deserve to die. In Romans 6:23, we are told the wages of sin is death. In Romans 7:1-4, we are told we are freed from the law by death. However, we are freed not by our own death, but by the death of Jesus. And this is the righteous requirement of the law that is fulfilled in us by Jesus. The law righteously requires that sinners die for their sins. Through Jesus’s death, that righteous requirement is fulfilled in those who live according to the Spirit and put to death the deeds of the body. It is not that Jesus’s perfect life is imputed to us but rather His sacrificial death. Praise the Lord!

Monday’s reading is Romans 9.

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I Need Good News

Today’s reading is Romans 2.

Paul seems to give us a plan. He explains that everyone who does evil, obeying unrighteousness, whether Jew or Greek will suffer wrath and fury. However, those who seek glory, honor, and immortality by doing good will receive eternal life. Then he follows it up by saying “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.” Wait a minute!!! The hinge between Paul’s teaching about the difference between the death-bound and the life-bound and this statement is “For God shows no partiality.” In other words, it doesn’t matter who you are, if you are good, you get life; if you sin, you get death. And that is the kicker. Romans 2:6-11 seems like an explanation of how to be saved. Instead, it is an explanation of why every one of us is lost. Sure, everyone who does good by seeking for glory, honor, and immortality by obeying truth gets eternal life. But everyone who sins whether under the Law or outside the Law perishes and is judged. Where does that leave me? I’m toast! I am a sinner. The news for me is bad. I need some good news. Praise God, Paul will be bringing some as we keep reading. Today, let the weight of the bad news settle on us, but don’t despair, Good News is coming.

Tomorrow’s reading is Romans 3.

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