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
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:
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.