And 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. 1 Corinthians 6:11
Years ago, Pam and I were leading a Christian tour to Egypt.
We, along with our fellow travelers, were awed by the sights and sounds of that wonderful country of past power. There was one thing which didn't impress many of the "cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness" travelers. They were taken somewhat aback by the dust and dirt that seemed to be encountered everywhere. One lady, who was either more offended or more outspoken than the rest, was shocked when she saw a particularly dirty child playing on what looked to be a village garbage dump.
She complained to those around her: "Why doesn't her mother do something to clean up her little girl?"
Our guide, a native Egyptian sitting in the front seat of the bus, overheard her question. Calmly, he reached over and took up the microphone used to broadcast his narratives throughout the coach. Without any venom in his voice, he calmly said, "Ladies and gentlemen, someone has asked the question why would a mother allow her daughter to get so dirty?"
"I can only tell you this: visitors to our country hate dirt, but they don't know or love the little children. Mothers of our country know and love their little children, but don't hate the dirt. Until love for a child and hatred for dirt come together in one person, these dirty children you see are likely to remain as they are."
The bus got quiet after that, quiet for a long time.
Partly things got quiet because we were embarrassed that the question had been overheard, and partly it was because we had felt we had been quite rightly reprimanded. But most of us were quiet because we knew what the guide had said was profoundly true.
The guide's words are true for the world, and they're true for each of us. For positive changes to happen in our lives, hatred of that which is evil -- and the power to remove that evil -- must be joined together.
Please let me explain. Almost everyone in the world knows he is filthy with sin. Most of us hate the evil we do, but we are powerless to do anything about it. If you look at most of the world's religions, you will see "deities" who say they have the power to change their followers, but they are disinclined to do so. For that reason the followers of those religions feel they must somehow, in some way, do something to work their way up and earn peace with their god.
But Christianity is different -- and unique.
The Triune God is furious with us for our disobedience and manifold transgressions. He has told us the soul that sins will die, both temporally and eternally. Yes, God hates our sin, but He is never content to let us stay in our sin.
So that we might be saved, God sent His Son into this world.
In the Person of Jesus, hatred of sin and love for transgressors came together. Through His life, His sacrifice, His substitution for sinners; by Jesus' suffering, death and glorious resurrection all who believe on Him are saved. Our dirt has been washed away because justice and grace have come together in the Triune God.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that in Jesus I have all that I need to be saved. May my life show my gratitude for His work, by which I am cleansed and rescued. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries