There is a story in the book of Luke that really personifies Jesus' true, unfailing, character. To be short, Jesus goes to eat with a prostitute in the house of the Pharisees. Think about what you imagine a prostitute as now...subtract 2,000 years and place her at the feet of the King. She is weeping and washing His feet with her hair and precious, expensive ointments. No questions asked by Jesus. The self righteous Pharisees believe that because this women is a dirty outward sinner, they are clean. How many times do we fall victim to this? So and so cheats on their wife, steals from the mall, drinks his liver to death, views pornography...and I am doing a whole lot better than that. So I am good. Right? I know I do! I look at friends or family and compare their wrongdoings and put mine above them. My wicked, sinful, denying heart is just as evil as the woman who hits her children while smoking crack or the man who cheats the system to get ahead in the business world. But friends, Jesus takes what is shameful and dirty, removes it and replaces it with love and delight of our Father. You can't tell me you don't wince when you hear the word prostitute, am I right? The gospel is so powerful that she is made white as snow and clean in the eyes of the Lord. Think of the people that the general public looks down on, to be honest the image that comes to mind is the junkies from Breaking Bad. By choosing a life with Jesus, these people are told to go in peace, their sins are forgiven.
He saves the wayward.
Saul, who ends up being Paul later on and writing 70% of the New Testament, has no interest in God and lives his life to tear down the people who made up the Christian faith. Murdering, burning down, destroying the new Jewish movement. God asks him "why are you persecuting me?" and guess what? Saul gives his life to the Lord. Paul was even enslaved for being a Christian (where he wrote the letter to the Phillipians) yet remains faithful to God. Have you ever known someone in life who has no regard for religion, the church, anything at all? They aren't necessarily killing Christians but in their mind, life is fine just the way it is and there isn't any room for something as big as God? Well, He saves them. God doesn't make us love Him. We are given free will. He shows us who He is, and how can we say no? I've seen God do a number on the disinterested people in my life. People who are just down in the pits, one thing after the other, losing jobs, losing marriages, fighting illness...and they want to do it on their own, without the help of our Savior. As much as I try to set an example for someone by clinging to faith through pain and suffering, it isn't enough for some people. And that's when God steps in. Boom! It's that phone call, conversation, beautiful scene that God shows up and they "get it".
God saves the uninterested.
So you're probably thinking, okay God saves people who are messed up and don't want anything to do with Him, what about everyone else. You're crazy if you can't name someone who lives the life of a Christian for show. It's either to show goodwill, to celebrate Christmas, to prove that they have money, gain social status, etc. I don't know any statistics but it seems that there are more lukewarm Christians in this world than people who've given their lives to Christ completely and fevently. It's those people who show up to church, make their appearance, be seen by others and whoosh, they're gone. They feel good about the 30 minutes a week they spend in the House of the Lord, their tank is full. Or people who tithe to show they have money and gain admiration/status in their social circles. Attention! God calls us to tithe 10% of our income regardless of what we make. He doesn't say "those of you who make $100k a year or more will tithe to make up for the others". You make $20k a year, you give 10%. You make $2million a year, you give 10%. It's not a game, it's what God commands. Or even those people who sit in small group and bible study smiling and shaking their heads yes but deep down, are unsure, have questions and don't believe the gospel provides full redemption. God wants them too! Tax collectors, Pharisees, bible study leaders, missionaries, church ladies on SNL. He wants your hearts people!! Not your money and time (although He does delight in those things, yes), He wants your love and complete trust.
God saves the religious.
There are people in all of our lives that we love, who aren't deeply in love with Jesus. And that is fine. We can pace, and worry, and pray and wish but the decision is theirs. God saves what we can't.
inspired by A New People by Matt Chandler, The Village Church
I wrote this post yesterday and spent a lot of the night trying to come up with things to add or things to change because I didn't want to sound to harsh or abrupt. I prayed and toyed with the idea of saving this post for another day to give me more time. But then God swooped in and answered my prayers. I turned on the radio this morning on my pitch black drive to work before 7am to hear Hillsong's "Mighty To Save". The line 'now I surrender' did it for me. God giving me that pat on the back before subbing me into the game. Thanks coach.