– James H. Aughey
Hospital for Sinners
Sadly, we had a man come into our church but hated the fact that we called ourselves sinners. I thought that was sad and told him that Jesus came to die for sinners. As Paul said–and I agree–I am chief among them (1 Timothy 1:15). If this man wasn’t a sinner anymore, I wondered why he wasn’t in heaven already. The Apostle John reminds us that “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8) and “if we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).
Every child of God is striving to overcome sin by God’s Spirit, but we are all undergoing sanctification at different paces. We can’t judge others who are still working on their lives because, like a tree, we all grow at different rates. Our rate of growing in holiness will be different from others. We must allow people time to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, showing them grace and trusting in God, Who is both working in them and through them (Philippians 2:13).
Welcoming the Weak
Not many of us in the church are mighty, strong, powerful, influential, or rich; but that’s the point, as the Apostle Paul writes, “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27). I fit into several of those categories. What about you?
The Poor Versus the Rich
James wrote, “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him” (James 2:5). The idea that God calls us to be rich is contrary to biblical doctrine. No, it’s not sin to be rich; but most of us in the church are to be rich in faith and not in money or possessions. We can own possessions and wealth, but there is the danger of them owning us.
I only have to look in the mirror to see that James Aughey is right: “The church is not a select circle of the immaculate, but a home where the outcast may come in,” which means we should welcome all people, rich or poor, since we are all basically outcasts of this world but, thankfully, embraced and welcomed by God. That’s why God’s grace is so amazing.