I’ve wanted to say something about this for a few days, so will take the fact that this weekend’s sermon was related to this topic as a hint that I need to stop thinking and start typing.
We’re all guilty of complicating what is, in the end, supposed to be the epitome of K.I.S.S. (keep it silly simple.)
We’ll let’s see….
Oh, but you must be baptized You must be more than a ChrEaster believer, (you know what I mean, one that shows at Church only at Christmas and Easter) What do you mean that you haven’t taken communion? You don’t religiously tithe ten percent?
You’re on the verge of being cut from the most exclusive club. You sure you want to chance it?
None of that matters.
Doesn’t matter if you don’t give to the church, never show up in a pew, or if you are still an alcoholic.
How can I dare say something like this? Easy.
But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong. Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Luke 23: 40-43 (NLT)
This man was such a criminal that the Romans deemed him deserving of crucifixion; the worst death possible at that time. He was never baptized. He certainly didn’t tithe, (he may very well have tried to steal those donations.) He never had time to partake in communion. And yet, Jesus assured him that they would be together in Heaven.
People in general, seem to want to put all kinds of other requirements and standards on believers. (This is what the sermon this weekend addressed.) We may raise an eyebrow or bristle at seeing another believer in a liquor store, or speeding on the freeway, or any of a number of other “infractions” all the way down to smoking outside the church before services begin.
Does any of that matter? In the end, no.
What does matter, as clearly shown with the criminal on the cross, is Jesus. In those moments, he acknowledged that Jesus had done no wrong, and expressed hope be thought of favorably by Him. He knew he deserved to be on the cross. He had done wrong. He saw himself as the sinner he was when contrast with Jesus. So in those last few moments, he was saved.
He could have stolen a coin purse from one of the soldiers that lashed him to the cross and he’d still be covered. All because he acknowledged Jesus as being without sin, and as the Son of God.
With the simplicity, why do we seem to add so many requirements to it? Is it possible that we, as broken humans, just see His offer as too good to be true?
But there it is, in black, white, and red. Directly from God, to us.
All that you need is Jesus. Period. End of discussion.