Naughty or Nice?
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Communion Meditations (2013)

Naughty or Nice?

 

Originally scheduled for October 13

Surely it is a paradox: some people think they are far too naughty to be allowed to become Christians, while others think they are much too nice to need it. Both of these extremes have been used as an excuse to avoid meeting Jesus of Nazareth.

The person who thinks he has been far too naughty to become a Christian usually reasons it this way: how could anyone forgive what I have done? Not, you understand, that I’m going to discuss it with you; that would simply be embarrassing. But I’m such a wicked and evil sinner that God would have nothing to do with me. God’s view is quite different. He looks at a person like that and sees what he sees in the rest of us: a sinner. Amazingly, it appears that God makes no effort to determine the point at which a sinner becomes too unworthy to be saved. You can see the difficulty if you examine it in detail. Just where would you draw the line between an acceptable sinner and an unacceptable sinner? Just to make the attempt would be a great deal of work and likely to produce a very legalistic mindset, which has its own problem. He solves the difficulty by simply making the proclamation that anyone can become a Christian.

It’s a bit more difficult with the person at the other end of the spectrum. You usually hear something like the idea that anyone can be a nice person without being a Christian. This is quite true; but what’s the point? Why would you want to be a nice person instead of being one who is saved? So you usually get this idea that I am nice enough to be saved without going through the formalities of becoming a Christian. In short, I am good enough. But that brings us back to the same problem of judgment. If it is difficult to determine the dividing line between those who are unacceptable sinners and those who just barely make it, it is equally difficult to draw the line between those were almost good enough and those were good enough. It is interesting that Christ never tries to draw such a line. His answer is always the same: “whosoever will.”

Communion reflects this. While the exact composition of the elements varies between the various denominations it is a fact that we all partake of the same thing. However those elements are composed, however those elements are distributed, we are all getting the same thing. His blood covers all of us; not just the worthy, not those who really know they need it, all of us. The truth is that we all need it. The truth is that Christ died for all of us. That’s why all who claim the name of Christ partake.

So as you partake this morning, give thanks that God gave his son for all of us, not just the worthy among us. Give thanks that no matter how nice you are, perfection can only be attained through the body and blood of Jesus Christ — which he offered for you. Do this in remembrance of him.

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