Romans 5:8 - But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus is always ready to receive sinners. Period.
Please, don't for a moment think Jesus stopped receiving sinners centuries ago or when the last of the apostles breathed his last. There has never been a moment in history -- no -- let me make this personal, there has never been a moment in your life, when Jesus has not been ready to receive you. That's right, Jesus wants to receive sinners like you.
No, don't tell me you're not a sinner. You are.
True, you may not be a really big sinner, but you are a sinner. Ask your spouse, or your loving children, or your best friend. I'll tell you what, ask the person who defends you and stands by your side no matter what you do. Ask him or her, "Am I a sinner? Have I ever done, or said, or thought anything that didn't seem right to you or pleasing to God?"
Go ahead, do it. Don't think I'm joking. Really, ask them. I'll wait.
You're not going to ask them, are you? I didn't think you would. You're not going to ask because you know, as much as they love you, as often as they've taken your side and defended you, they're going to hesitate just a little bit too long before they give an answer to your question. Their over-long hesitation means they know -- and you ought to know -- this truth: you are a sinner.
Worse, you are a sinner who can't do a single thing to change yourself. Nor can you do anything to change the unpleasant place you're going to be spending eternity after you die and have been judged. This is why, my sinful friend, you need to be received by Jesus.
Of course, it is possible that denying your sinfulness isn't your particular problem.
Is it possible there is overwhelming evidence showing you to be a depraved, debauched transgressor? Is your shame so great, your guilt so troubling and terrifying, that you believe if you were ever brought before Jesus, He would recoil at the sight of you and refuse to receive you?
My dear, big-sinning friend, don't be so foolish.
When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was crushed to the ground by the great weight of humanity's sins. Your transgressions were there that night. Jesus knew you, your life, and every one of the sins you have ever committed.
Trust me on this. I've read the Bible.
There is not a single passage which speaks of Jesus carrying the sins of everybody with the exception of you. Nowhere does it record Jesus saying, "Yes, Father in heaven, I'll die to save the world with the exception of Bob or Bertha in the 21st century." There, on the accursed tree, He gave His life as your ransom and offered His perfection to win your salvation. He paid the price, and then, with His resurrection from the dead, showed to all who are given eyes to see it: Jesus receives sinners.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, once the Pharisees accused the Savior of receiving sinners. I give thanks, that for once, the Pharisees were right, and You have done all to receive us, forgive us, and save us. In the Savior's Name I give thanks. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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