Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Good News about Being a Sinner

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
1 Timothy 1:15 ESV

In a discussion with a college student and another man last night, I was reminded again of this passage in Timothy. Now, this passage certainlly deserves much time and attention, as does the whole of the Scriptures. However this passage struck me again as we were praying and struggling together over a common theme among many whom would consider themselves "Christian"especially evangelical.

Friends, one of the sweetest and greatest doctrines that you will find in the Scripture, is the doctrine of the depravity of man. Without going in to a systematic theology lesson here, I sense it would be better to just simply summarize some of our discussion last night and it's relevance for me and for you as well.

We live in a day and age where common man does not realize, nor accept that he is a sinner. Our "fast-food evangelism" goes something like this. We give people a list of questions, and their ability to say "yes" determines whether or not they are "saved." You know what I'm talking about, we ask people questions like:
  • Do you know that you are a sinner?
  • Do you know that Jesus died for sinners?
  • Do you want to go to heaven or hell?
  • If you want to go to heaven, then pray this prayer.

The result is a staggering. You have many people report that they have made their decision because they do not want to go to hell, so they have decided to "invite Jesus into their heart" so that they can go to heaven. The whole time they are decieved. Folks, we have got to understand what it means to really know that we are "sinners." We are fully deserving of God's wrath. There is none who is righteous, the thoughts and intentions of man's heart are only evil all the time. God is Holy, and we deserve to be punished for our treason against the creator of the universe. You can rest assured that every single person apart from Christ will be sent to hell because God will punish them and bring about the due peanalty for their sin.

However, inbedded in this we find a great relief. Friends, if you recognize and understand that you are this sinner that Paul is talking about, you are blessed! When God releals to you that you deserve his wrath, anger, and punishment and this will certainlly be your fate if something is not changed. Then you find the scriptures that remind you, Christ died for the ungodly, while we were dead in our tresspasses and sins, without God, without hope in this World. It is by grace that we have been saved! Praise the Lord!

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