It's the same thing with us Christians., once we have been saved. We look down our noses on the unsaved. One of the biggest dangers we face as Christians: becoming exclusive with the grace of Jesus Christ. We have forgotten where we came from. The Church is not a showcase for saints, but a place where people of all backgrounds can come and say “I need Jesus”. Neither is God’s love ours to withhold, nor are we more deserving of His mercy than the stranger off the street. In fact, the Bible is pretty clear that Jesus made a habit of knocking “Holy” individuals down to size:
Luke 7:44-50 (NLT2)44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair.45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet.46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”49 The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?”50 And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Paul reminds the Corinthians where many of them came from.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NLT2)9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
John Upchurch also talks about it in his article “Sinners Gonna Sin”. I hope it causes you to remember where you came from and encourages you to go back and provide that example for others that need it so that they can join you in the family of God.
Sinners Gonna Sin
by John UpChurch
“For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.” Philippians 3:18-19
We should never be surprised by sin. Humans run to it, fill their hands with the dripping filth, and smear it over their bodies. From birth. From conception (Psalm 51:5). It’s the natural state of what it means to be a fallen Homo sapiens.
Often, though, it’s easy to forget our own dip into the slop. Years of following Jesus can make that mud bath indistinct and alien in our memories. We were, but are no longer (Romans 6:6). The times we plunged headfirst into sin no longer seem real. We forget how arduous the road has been that’s brought us here—the struggles, the temptations, the urges to turn around and dive back in. We forget that each victory came with wounds. We forget why we have the scars.
With that newness of rebirth comes the temptation to compare everything and everyone with where we are now. Our filth cleansed, we see clearly. And what we see are those pitiful figures still flailing in the dirt, still covering themselves with sin.
It’s easy to be disgusted. The mud seems much dirtier now than it was when we were in it, more putrid to our nostrils. Certainly we would never do what they do—those still wallowing, those whose god is their every whim and desire. There’s nothing very attractive in the mess.
But when you think of what will become of those who blindly grope in the sludge, when you consider the destiny of those who glory in their own shame, you start to see something else. God looked into just such filth to find a struggling wretch—one that looked just like you. His love wasn’t deterred by all your caked-on grime. His compassion wasn’t stopped by the junk that clung to you. He yanked you from the pit and put your feet on the rock. Then, He washed you clean.
Sin comes naturally to humanity. But love that looks past the grime to share the hope of the gospel? That’s the hard thing. That’s the thing worth doing.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Those who are enemies of the cross, as Paul describes them, will sin. They’ll do so in small ways, and they’ll do so blatantly and defiantly. And from outside the mud bath, it’s easy for us to wrinkle our noses in disgust. “Sure, we all sin,” we might tell ourselves, “but they’re reveling in the stuff.”
But compassion, the kind that rolls through 1 Corinthians 13, peers ahead to the future destiny of those writhing in the filth and peels back the layers of grime. There, we see humans destined for destruction. They may not want help, but they need it. And you’re called to offer it to them.