1 Corinthians 6:11 - 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.
The hymn says, "Jesus sinners doth receive."
The problem is, every once in a while, I run into sinners who think that statement is true for everyone ... except them. There are a number of reasons for that:
1. Some people really don't believe they are sinners. That's because they really don't believe God has set up Laws to judge them.
2. There are others who, as they look back on their lives, find overwhelming evidence showing them to be a depraved, debauched transgressor. Their shame is so great, their guilt so troubling and terrifying they believe, if they were ever brought before Jesus, He would recoil at the sight of them and refuse to receive them.
My dear, big-sinning friend, don't be 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. There is not a single passage in Scripture 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."
He didn't refuse to redeem you from sin, death, and devil.
Jesus knew your sins, and He carried your sins, along with the sins of every one of us, to His cross. Jesus carried the sins of big sinners and little sinners and even those sinners who pretend they're not sinners. 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: Jesus receives sinners.
We are all sinners that Jesus wishes to receive and change. Yes, you heard me right: He will receive you, and He will change you.
You didn't think He was going to leave you the way you were, did you? What would be the point in that? If you were going to stay the same, there would have been no purpose in Him living and dying for you. No, Jesus will receive you the way you are and make you into what God wants you to be. Jesus will receive you and give faith to you, and forgive you, and change you.
It's not painful. On the contrary, it's wonderful to be redeemed and recycled, remade with a new heart, a new life filled with forgiveness, lifted up by hope, and given a wonderful life that will never end. It all happens because Jesus, the Savior, receives sinners.
How do I know?
I know because He changed me -- even as He has changed, and been merciful to, many others.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the tax collector spoke for all of us when he asked for mercy in regard to his sins. I am thankful that just as he was forgiven, I am too. In Jesus' 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
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"