What hypocrites we the Church are! We profess to follow Christ and yet our actions deny our obedience to Him. Rather our self-righteousness boasts of intimacy with the Father and we celebrate our own salvation, while neglecting His example and His commandments to love others and preach the gospel without judgment!
Christ is the only hope to be saved from condemnation, from everlasting fire and pain in hell. Our good deeds cannot even remotely cover our sin before a Holy and Perfect God! Christ’s death on the cross has offered to pay off our debt of sin and it doesn’t matter what the sin is!
Yes, it does not matter what we have done, Christ’s death has paid the penalty for ALL of our wrongdoing, if only we come to Him and love Him with all we have.
Even the worst can be forgiven
Jesus demonstrated this when He called Zaccheus down from the tree, Luke chapter 19, verses 1-9. Zaccheus was considered by the Jewish people as the worst of all sinners, since his status in society was as low as prostitutes. His occupation as a tax collector ranked him a traitor to his countrymen, because he was working with the Roman government to seize Jewish money for them. Additionally, he was a thief and cheat, stealing from his own people by taking more money for taxes than they owed.
Imagine being known for being the worst. How would he have walked through town? People would have tried to avoid him at all costs. Yet, as Jesus is walking down the path He stops, and He looks up at the man in the tree. The man that knew everything about him, Jesus knew all his known and hidden sins.
And Jesus calls him down from the tree. The fear and joy he must have had in that moment. How many of us would have been in the crowd that passed by Zaccheus, rolling our eyes at him, thinking “what is he doing here? He is such an awful sinner.” Yet Jesus stopped at him, looked up, called him by name, and how does Zaccheus respond, in true repentance.
As I read through this story, I was shocked, I was humbled, and I was disturbed. In this passage, I recognize I to easily judge others and their sin.
Point people to Him who can save
As representatives of Christ, the Church must follow His lead, must obey His Word and must point people to Him. The Church must reach out to those who are lost, even to the worst of the worst and offer them the good news that Christ Jesus came to save the lost, came to set the captives free and came to remove ALL the debt we owe.
If you’re saved, it is only by God’s grace, it is only because Jesus called you by name, it is only because Christ’s blood is sufficient. We must therefore rejoice in our salvation and we must willingly interact with sinners, pointing them to Christ, because we have the medicine for the deadliest disease.
Who is it that you look down upon: Drunkards? Drug Addicts? Homosexuals? Prostitutes? Single parents? The disabled? A work colleague? Murders? Pray for them, seek opportunity to show you love them like Christ, and speak the truth of the gospel in love.
Good works won’t get you anywhere with God
If you go to Church, but have never chosen Christ as Lord, or just think you’re a good person, don’t be like the Pharisees who thought they could enjoy God and make Him happy because of the things they did.
Don’t exalt yourself above other people and think yourself better than those around you, fall on your knees and beg God for mercy, realize you are a sinner and that you need grace to save you from what you deserve.
There is hope for us no matter who we are
If you are the worst sinner, if you think you’re so terrible the Church won’t accept you and that Jesus won’t be able to help you, look to Him! This story of Zaccheus (and many more throughout the gospels) tells you that He calls even the worst by name and they are saved!
You can be saved, you must say sorry to God for what you have done against Him, but then He will remove all your sin from the record and God will see you as perfect and righteous when you stand before Him. This is the way of Christ and He is your only hope for eternal salvation and reward. Is he calling you by name? Act now!
Genevieve Wilson is a happily married home-schooling mum of 3, whose passion is to see people come to know Jesus. She is a seminary wife to her amazing husband.