"That Old-Time Religion"
August 7, 2011
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
Charles Barry was a pastor who lived in the 1800s, but his thinking was pretty modern. By that I mean he -- like many contemporary preachers -- never took seriously the idea that Jesus is our heaven-sent Savior.
Shortly after Barry began work in his first parish in England, he received a late-night caller at the parsonage. At the door was a young girl with a shawl on her head, worn clothes on her body and shoes that should have been thrown away.
The girl began, "Mister, if you're a minister I need you to come with me. I need to get my mother in." Thinking the girl's mother had an alcohol problem, Barry encouraged the girl to go to the police station a few blocks away.
The girl refused and clarified, "My mother is dying, and I need you to get her into heaven." At the mother's bedside, Barry began talking about Jesus, the nice-guy Jesus who never judged and told us to be nice to each other. The mother interrupted and said, "Sir, those words are no help for the likes of me. I'm afraid. Isn't there anything which will help a poor sinful soul be saved?"
Years later Reverend Barry confessed, "There I was, standing in the presence of a dying woman and I had nothing to tell her. In order to give something to that dying woman, I remembered the things I learned from my mother. I remembered how she spoke and told me of the cross and of a Christ who is able to forgive and save sinners completely."
As he spoke that message, tears began to flow down the woman's cheeks and she confessed: "Now you're helping me."
Pastor Barry ended his story this way: "God got her into heaven and, blessed be, God got me in there, too."
Barry discovered what so many others have found out: sinners need a Savior. It is not enough to say Jesus was a great teacher, philosopher, educator and good-deed doer. Jesus first, foremost and always must be God's sinless Son whose blood cleanses us from all sin. I pray that is the Savior you know -- the Savior whom you love because He first loved you.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, the world is always trying to maximize Your humanity and minimize Your divinity. Help me hold fast to and share that old-time religion, which is laid out so clearly in Holy Scripture. This I ask in Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries