Romans 10:8-9 - But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim): because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
During his early days in South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi inquired about Christianity.
For several Sundays, he attended a Christian church. His evaluation was the congregation did not strike him as being particularly religious. They were not an assembly of devout souls but appeared rather worldly-minded people going to church for recreation and in conformity to custom. Gandhi concluded there was nothing in Christianity that could be of service to him.
Today, around us there are many people who, like Gandhi, have judged the Master by His servants. Because of what they have seen in us, they have decided the Savior has nothing eternal and forgiving to stay to them.
That is a mistake.
Christians are not perfect. Indeed, if they were, they would have no need of a Savior. On the contrary, all of us are sinners, like the rest of humanity. We are jealous, and we are petty, small and greedy, lustful and vulgar in our speech. Our tongues can be sharp, and our thoughts are often far from pure.
In all of these things, we show just how much we need a Savior. But there is a difference between us and the world.
When confronted by these our transgressions we ought go to Jesus and confess, "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner." And as believers, we have the joyful knowledge that He, who gave His life upon the cross, is merciful." He who loves us, sends His Holy Spirit upon us so we can -- forgiven and free -- be empowered to be better and different.
And we need to be better and different for two main reasons:
The first reason is illustrated in this short dialogue between a college student, a recent convert, who tried to be a living advertisement and make a defense of Jesus before his mocking college professor. Not being accustomed to speaking, the student hemmed and hawed. At this, the professor cuttingly commented, "Young man, is that the best you can do? You ought to be ashamed of yourself looking and talking like that."
"Well," the young man replied, "I am ashamed of myself, but I am not ashamed of Christ."
That lad had it right. While we may be embarrassed over our sins and shortcomings, we should never be ashamed of Christ. By God's grace and mercy, we have been given the Savior, the Scriptures, the blood-bought message of salvation That is the Savior's story which needs to be share -- which needs to be shared without apology or embarrassment.
True, people all around us should read the Bible where God clearly outlines what He has given the world through His Son. They should, but they don't. All too often those around us will, like Gandhi, judge your Savior by what you say and do. It is especially then that we, like John the Baptist, must bear witness to the Savior with the witness of our lives as well as our tongues.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant me the life and the words to share salvation's story with those around me who 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