When I hear that certain politicians and corporate CEOs want no part of people who defend the unborn, and classify those who hold to Biblical views of marriage, life, and gender as deplorable and unwanted, it becomes obvious to me what makes Christianity the victorious position.
Let’s face it, apart from Jesus Christ, we are all deplorable—totally deplorable and depraved. It is only those in Christ who do not try to hide that fact from themselves or others. Recall the scene in Pilgrim’s Progress when Apollyon seeks to humiliate Christian as he accuses him of being unqualified to be saved because he does not follow God perfectly. Christian responds, “All this is true, and much more which thou hast left out. But, the Prince whom I now serve and honor is merciful and ready to forgive.”
This echoes St. Paul, who referred to himself as the chief of all sinners. No condemnation can be heaped upon the believer who understands what he is apart from Jesus, and what Christ has accomplished on the cross.
I am not too worried that there are folks who do not want those of us around who have moved from death to life, from condemnation to redemption, and from darkness to light. Jesus told us to expect such treatment in John 15:18-19,
If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Here is what makes us different from the enemies of God: We who have been forgiven are instructed to go and make disciples everywhere. Our invitation is an open door, even to those who express disdain for us. We freely tell people that the bad news and consequences of their sin is not the only outcome for them. We are commanded to love even those who are our enemies. This involves living out God’s law-word in our lives, even as it pertains to them. In other words, we are to concentrate on shining our light before them, instructing them that they are welcome into the Kingdom of God if they repent of their sins.
The hymn, Come Ye Sinners* (which is a personal favorite of mine) sums up what our message to the lost should be:
Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched, weak and wounded, sick and sore
Jesus’ ready stands to save you, full of pity joined with power
He is able, He is able, He is willing, doubt no more.
Come, ye, needy, come and welcome, God’s free bounty glorify
True belief and true repentance, every grace that brings you nigh
Without money, without money, come to Jesus Christ and buy.
Come, ye weary, heavy laden, bruised and broken by the fall
If you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all.
Not the righteous, not the righteious, sinners Jesus came to call.
Let not conscience make you linger, nor of fitness fondly dream.
All the fitness He requireth is to see your need of Him.
This He gives you, this He gives you, ‘tis the Spirits’ rising beam.
Lo! the incarnate God ascended, pleads the merits of His blood
Venture on Him, venture wholly, let no other trust intrude
None but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good.
Come, ye sinners poor and wretched, weak and wounded, sick and sore.
Throughout history, the congregation of the faithful is made up of former deplorables who received the free gift of atonement. Let not the hatred spewing from the mouths of God’s enemies infect us. Rather than be insulted, let us praise God that we are considered worthy to suffer for Christ. Think about it. A small group of disciples turned the world upside down. Our numbers are far greater. Time for us former deplorables to embrace how we have been transformed, and unashamedly confront our opponents with a clear presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what makes us different!
*From Judy Rogers’ album Arise & Shine, track #8