Good News for Sinners and Saints – Part 2
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Good News for Sinners
But why, someone might ask is this Good News for sinners? Well now, I am glad you asked. The answer is of course very simple. God is now in the Gospel, offering all of these great promises of forgiveness to sinners. The righteousness of God is not reserved for good people, or religious people. Christ came to save sinners! People who think they are good enough for God, or who are trusting in their religion or religious performance will never see Heaven’s door. No indeed they will be seriously disappointed when the Master says to them…
Luke 5:31-32 – 31 …..”It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” NASB
But for those who realize their desperate state, who can say unequivocally, I am a sinner, there is great hope. This is because the payment for reconciliation with God has already been made for those who will repent of their sins and trust in Christ for their righteousness before God. This Gospel declares…
Romans 3:21-24 – 21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; NASB
Sinners can now be declared righteous in the sight of God, based on Christ’s perfect righteousness. God is not asking you to clean up your life, and fix all your sins, and then come to Christ. On the contrary, you have no ability to do that, nobody does. Instead He has commanded you to repent of your sins, that is, to turn your back on your sins from this time forward, and to trust Christ to be your righteousness before God. This is not to say you will never sin again, in fact all Christians sin many times in our lives after we come to Christ. But it is to say that we have willfully changed the direction of our heart and life toward following Christ and away from our sins. And in doing this, we trust Him to clean up our life, and fix our sins, and heal us and help us! And all these things He promises to do for those who are sincere in their commitment to Him. All of this will result in a wonderful and glorious newfound joy, peace and power to flee from your sins, and to follow Christ. If you hear God calling you to this commitment, then turn to Him, respond to Him and believe… and these promises of forgiveness and reconciliation will be yours. Now this is Good News for sinners!… yes God forgives sin….
And this ought to be the culture of our church. We bear a message of hope for the sinner, one of healing and restoration. People who are willing to come and learn of Christ, and learn to please Him, ought not to be weighed down by the endless standards and traditions of others who have been following Christ for many years. Instead they ought to be helped, cared for, healed and supported in the great struggle against sin, and carefully taught to obey Christ and His Word. If they have come to Christ, there is no condemnation for them, and God’s people ought not to condemn them but instead help them. It has long soured me to see some Christians who heap abuse and criticism on others, holding them to unbelievable religious standards, while all the while they are not willing to lift a finger to come alongside and disciple, care for, and support those who are learning to follow the Master. These same ones display anger and outrage at everyone else’s compromise and lack of so-called holiness. They have forgotten that God is gracious and loving and kind, and mercifully strengthens the weak, defends the oppressed and feeds the spiritually hungry…. Dear friends, if Christ receives sinners, shouldn’t we? I am not suggesting that we allow people to openly and rebelliously continue on in blatant and destructive sin without reproof or discipline, but I am suggesting that the spiritually sick and weak need to be nursed to health, and this is in fact how Christ treats sinners who come to Him, and this ought to be the culture of our church. It ought to be a place where people can find loving acceptance, healing, and shelter from the brutal and relentless fallen world of sin. Our God and His Word hold out the Good News of healing and forgiveness for sinners, and we ought to bear that message as it is in truth, Good News! We are the servants of this Good News!
I recently read a quote from Dr. Ray Ortlund Jr. where he is discussing how we perceive our Bibles in the church…he writes, “For a church to preach gospel doctrine and embody gospel culture is ultimately a matter of hermeneutics. Not the pastor’s cheery personality, though that helps, but hermeneutics. What is this Bible we are reading? If it really is good news for bad people through the finished work of Christ on the cross — if “good news” is the hermeneutic with which every passage is interpreted and every sermon preached, then by God’s help that church will build a gospel culture where sinners can breathe again. But it is possible for a church, reading the Bible, even revering the Bible, never to become a gospel culture. Why? Hermeneutics, how they perceive their Bible. And if the only light we have is darkness, how great is our darkness. We tend toward a sinister reading of reality. We see God that way, we see each other that way, we see life that way. The Bible sets us free. Wise churches keep their thinking in happy and determined alignment with the authoritative message of divine grace.”
As I stated before…. Our God and His Word hold out the Good News of healing and forgiveness for sinners, and we ought to bear that message as it is in truth, Good News!
Good News for Saints – its sufficient for daily sanctification – treadmill
But God’s grace is not only Good News for sinners, it is in fact the best news for us saints also, that is, those who have been born again by the Spirit and are actively seeking to love God with all of our heart and love our neighbors as ourselves!
Dear Christian do you constantly struggle with guilt and shame wondering why you cannot seem to overcome your battle with sin? Do you constantly fail at perfect obedience and wonder if there is any hope for you? Let me tell you….your hope is not in you or in your ability to be righteous before God! Your hope is in the obedience of Jesus Christ, and that He obeyed the Law perfectly on your behalf! More than this, God has forgiven every single shortcoming and sin in your life, “cast them into the depths of the sea,” and “removed them as far as the East is from the West” and promised to “remember them no more!” Your hope is in Divine Grace and in the God of all grace, not in your human abilities.
I would like to suggest that the same grace that motivates God to send His Son to die in your place and to forgive your sins, is the same grace that God is disposed to give you now to live a victorious Christian life of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. You are the prodigal child, returned home in broken repentance. He is the gracious Father, running to receive you with open arms of love, preparing for you ring, robe and feast, rejoicing that you have come home. He stands ready to help you, encourage you and strengthen you to live in a way that pleases Him.
To illustrates His desire to help us, let us consider two short passages in Hebrews which display the fact that He has bid us to come near to Him and find the help we need.
Hebrews 4:15-16 – 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. NASB
Here we see Jesus, our great High Priest who “sympathizes with our weaknesses.” You see, Jesus was a man who lived in this brutal fallen world, and He knows our struggles all too well. Because of this, He has great compassion for those of us who want to please Him, and He has bid us to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace.” Here God says come near to me with confidence that I sympathize with your weakness, and I will strengthen you with my grace! He goes on…. “that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” Dear Christian, are you weak in your struggle against sin? Hear God’s promise to you…. “draw near to me with confidence” and you will “receive mercy” and “find grace to help in time of need.”
And may I add, if you have blown it, come to Him, and ask for His forgiveness, confess your sin to Him, and He will heal your guilty conscience! This is what He says in…
Hebrews 10:19-23 – 19 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. NASB
Christian, the Lord has called us to come near to Him in “full assurance of faith,” expecting to draw strength from Him to help us in our time of need. Do you hear the Father’s heart here? He wants to help you and strengthen you in your weakness. You say to me, “brother, my load is heavy and I am weary of this burden, what shall I do.” My answer is Jesus answer….
Matthew 11:27-30 – 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. 30 “For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” NASB
….. Friend, if your burden ain’t light, it ain’t right! Come to the Master and lay it at His feet!
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