On one occasion Jesus posed to some sceptics who criticized the kind of people he hung out with the following;
Matt. 9 - 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
On the surface it seems odd that Jesus wants the sinners instead of the "good" people. Aren't good people the type who want to follow God and believe in Jesus? Aren't Christians the "good" people?
It is very common to hear today that a person will "go to heaven" because they are good. If you ask most non-Christians they will tell you that God is going to accept them in heaven because they are nice to their friends, help people and don't do anything extraordinarily wicked. After all, a loving God doesn't send people to hell and you get to heaven if your "good" outweighs your "bad".
If you're generally a "righteous" (good) person, then you DESERVE to go to heaven.
Even Christians get trapped in measuring how "good" they are by examining how much they pray and read the Bible; or by how much they give or serve. Subconsciously they feel acceptable to God because they have earned it by being "good". This is not to be confused with the very real sense of God's displeasure or chastisement when we are indeed ignoring or disobeying Him. The type of "being good" I’m discussing here believes that God OWES us His favour because we have acted a certain way.
Any idea that being good earns God's favour betrays a lack of understanding about what true righteousness is.
True righteousness does not originate in us.
True righteousness comes only from God. It is applied to us through our Saviour’s sacrifice, and we are empowered to righteousness through obedience to God.
Why did Jesus not call the "righteous" (those who are good)? Because good people (in the sense Jesus was speaking) have not yet reached a point of being "poor in spirit"
Matt 5 – 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
To be poor in spirit is to realize that we are completely bankrupt of good, and that we have no hope of salvation unless the Saviour comes to rescue us.
In the context of Jesus words, the "sinner" is the person who has this figured out. The sinner realizes who they are, and understands that they can't do anything about their condition without help. Jesus came to call those who understand their true hopelessness and dilemma.
The full article:
You may read the entire article at the following web address. http://www.seriousfaith.com/teaching_detail.asp?teachingnumber=308
The Ten Commandments
are arguably the most important part of the bible prior to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as they were written by God’s own hand! The Ten Command-ments define for us how God decides who is truly righteous.
1) You shall have no other god before me.
2) You shall not make yourself any graven image.
3) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
4) Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy.
5) Honour your father and your mother.
6) You shall not kill.
7) You shall not commit adultery.
8) You shall not steal.
9) You shall not lie.
10) You shall not covet.
Most people feel self-righteous as they go down through this list until they realize that a bad person includes a person who lies or steals. Most don’t realize that they have also committed adultery and murder. Jesus reminded us of this when he said;
Matt 5 – 21 You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgement.’ “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement… and whoever says ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.
Many of us can think of a time when we have spoken ill of a brother. Again Jesus said regarding adultery;
Matt 5 – 27 “You have heard it said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery’ “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
By the definition Jesus gave everyone has committed adultery.
We are all basically bad people, or as the Bible says “Sinners”. The Bible reinforces this conclusion even more when it says,
Romans 3 - 10 There is none righteous, no not one.
Romans 3 – 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
The Christian and a non-Christian are both sinners. The only difference between them is the Christian has admitted it and he has asked God to replace his lack of perfection with the gift of Christ’s perfection in his life.
Ephesians 2 – 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; It is the gift of God, 9 not of works lest anyone should boast.
I John 1 – 9 If we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Contact the person who handed you this tract or the author.
Bible Door Tracts
273 Manchester Drive, Newmarket, ON, L3Y 6J4, Canada,
This tracts author is Ray Luff of Bible Door Tracts. The opinions contained in this tract do not necessarily represent the opinions of Riverdrive Park Bible Chapel where Ray is in fellowship. All Bible references are from The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson unless otherwise noted