For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:18-20
Some time ago I heard of a lady who wrote a letter to her local newspaper. And lest you wonder, this story is not made up. This is the sum and substance of what she said:
"I am heartily sick of the type of religion that insists my soul (and everyone else's) needs saving -- whatever that means." She said, "I have never felt that I was lost. Nor do I feel that I wallow in the mire of sin ...." "Give me practical religion that teaches gentleness and kindness and acknowledges no barriers of color or creed, that remembers the aged and teaches children about goodness and not about sin."
Then she concluded,
"If, in order to save my soul, I must accept such a philosophy as I have recently heard preached, I prefer to remain forever damned."
Think about those words for a moment. I can find no statement in Scripture which has such disregard for the Deity, such disrespect for the Savior. Even worse, I am afraid this woman is not alone. Granted, not many are so bold, so blunt, so foolhardy to express their feelings in such a way, but she is not alone.
Pseudo-scholars make mockery of the Savior's sacrifice and elevate man's wisdom over God's salvation; elected leaders call upon Christ's Name to collect votes, but they deny knowing Him when they cast theirs; so-called stars scoff openly at the Savior, but their lives appear destitute of meaning.
Think of those words: "I prefer to remain forever damned." Christians must shed tears for any nation whose citizenry believes that it has, without God, created itself and wishes to be in complete control of its future. We shed tears for any of our neighbors who feel they can live their lives secure in sin, safe from any final accounting. Christians cry tears and pray that all who, this day, are enemies of the cross, may soon be Spirit-led to see the Savior, His cross, and empty tomb. May they see in Him there is salvation.
The lady may prefer she be forever damned; but I pray that she may, in Jesus, be forever saved.
Let us pray, and work, and witness so this lady and all those like her may be turned from being enemies of the cross and be led to the Savior. May they see His sacrifice, His thorn-encircled head, the love and blood that poured from His wounds.
Let us pray, and work, and witness so that she, along with the doubters and the deniers, the skeptics and the cynics, the unbelievers and the unsaved will take a good look into the Savior's empty tomb. By God's grace may they see the living Lord and, with repentant hearts, fall to their knees and with a reborn, Spirit-given heart say, "My Lord and my God!" (See John 20:24-28.)
Let us pray, and work, and witness so their transformation from damnation to salvation may bring a smile to the Savior's face.
A smile on Jesus' face: that is something that would be worth seeing.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the world is filled with sinful souls who think they can come up with a better plan for salvation than You have in Jesus. Forgive them and grant to them a heart that acknowledges their sin and the Savior's perfection. This I ask for all who, this day, are lost. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries