Exodus 32: 7-14 

Psalm 51: 1-18 

1 Timothy 1: 12-17 

St. Luke 15: 1-10 

“Humble Salvation” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

I’m a huge fan of ministers who go to the darkest corners of  the world and provide their entire ministry to those who live in  these less-than-favorable junctions. That includes pastors who  preach the untainted pure good news to prisoners, addicts, those  on death row, the homeless, and even the most tainted and  demonic of areas such as outside Planned Parenthood and pro pedophilia draw shows. We need Christians preaching the Good  News in these areas so that hope, joy, and the forgiveness of sins  is provided. Yes, even the mass murderer who works at Planned  Parenthood can be forgiven of his or her sins and receive the  Salvation that comes only through faith in Christ. How would  anyone know if no one went to them and preached the pure  Scripture that life begins at conception and automatically have  intrinsic value according to Genesis 1:27-28, Genesis 9:6, Exodus  20:13, Exodus 23:7, Exodus 21:22-23 (which states that a man  must be put to death if he caused a child in a pregnant women to  die), Deuteronomy 30:19, Job 10:11-12, Job 31:15, Job 33:4,  Psalm 22:10, Psalm 100:3, Psalm 119:73, Psalm 127:3-5, Psalm  139:13-16, Isaiah 44:24, Isaiah 45:9-11, Isaiah 59:1-5, Isaiah  64:8, Jeremiah 1:5, Luke 1:15, Luke 1:41-44, 1 Corinthians 1:27,  Galatians 1:15, etc.? My personal favorite is from today’s psalm,  Psalm 51:5, “Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother  conceived me.”

At the same time, how would these people know that despite  their sins, Jesus Christ still died on the cross to forgive them of  their sins, in fact he died specifically for us? How would they know  if no one tells them? 

This is why on the flip side I have anger in my heart towards  pastors who stick their noses up at those whose souls are too  unclean for them. They come to find out that a parishioner  committed a sin and decide to abandon said person in their sin, to  let them wander aimlessly in their outer darkness. They avoid bad  areas in the neighborhood that have the rough crowds. They hang  out with the rich, clean, and upright, but to the poor and dirty and  down-to-earth they treat them like scum and provide no  opportunity of repentance. They abandon the ones who are in the most need of Christ in their lives, and thus prove themselves to be  the scummiest of scums. I would say to such people, hang out  with enlisted soldiers, people who swear every other word and  spit dip at the most awkward of times and drink booze during  down time; that would bring down their haughty barriers fast. 

Do they not know that when Jesus came to earth He came  for the unclean, not the clean. Jesus came to save the broken, not  the all-ready whole. He came for the imperfect, not the perfect. He  came for those who are filthy, not the pure. He came for sinners,  not saints. When He came he intentionally hanged out with the  outcasts and the worse of civilization. He did so because they  were willing to listen and be forgiven. He hanged out with tax  collectors and sinners. He preached to thieves and prostitutes. He  was willing to forgive murderers and rapists. He was even willing 

to preach and forgive the worst of society - the Pharisees and  their scribes. 

The reason is simple, Jesus came to save. What need is  there to find a person who is already at home? Why would I clean  a rag that is already perfectly clean? What’s the point in putting a  bandage or taking medicine when you have no injuries or are not  sick? Why save someone who does not need to be saved? 

Christ’s entire ministry was for the lost, the poor in soul, the  blind, the deaf, the unclean, and the wretched. He didn’t come  here to lift up those who will already enter Heaven. He came for  those who are unable to enter Heaven. He came and died on the  cross for those whose sins prevent them from entering the  Kingdom of God. Through the cross He takes on these very sins  so that we may be spotless when the time comes. His death was  our atoning sacrifice, for as long as we have faith in Him, then no  matter what happens we will go into heaven. Jesus Christ  humbled Himself to provide Salvation not to saints but to sinners. 

So when the haughty Pharisees and scribes lifted up their  noses at Jesus, grumbling, “This man receives sinners and eats  with them,” they intended that to be an insult. Have they not read  Scripture? If they have then are they not idiots? Do they not know  that within the Laws of Moses that the means for forgiveness  through various offerings are provided. Do they not have the  humility to realize they themselves are sinners? Do they claim to  be better than King David who sings in Psalm 51:2, “Wash me  thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin”? Have  they conveniently glossed over all the multitude of Scripture that 

points to the promise of salvation? The arrogance of these foolish  clowns! Are they not lost on the sheer irony of their own words?  For according to chapter 14:1, this interaction is happening within  the house of a ruler of the Pharisees who also had lawyers,  scribes, and lesser Pharisees invited as guests. The words of the  grumblers again was, “This man receives sinners and eats with  them,” yet at that very moment, though the tax collectors and  sinners were approaching the home of the Pharisees to hear the  words of Jesus, the ones Jesus was entertaining and eating with  were the very Pharisees who uttered this nonsense. 

When the Pharisees grumbled that Jesus eats with sinners,  who was He eating with at that very moment? The Pharisees; oh,  the irony! What they say is still true, for all except for Jesus have  sinned. 

Now Jesus’ response to this arrogance was to provide a  number of Parables. We read two today, and after said two, Jesus, in Chapter 16, provides some more parables only to end  with the Pharisees openly ridiculing Jesus in front of His disciples  and all the sinners outside listening. What was Jesus’ response?  “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows  your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in  the sight of God.” 

Jesus came to save all people because all have sinned,  most especially the Pharisees, but how can Jesus save the  Pharisees if they keep on pushing Him away in favor of self justification? He who justifies himself before God using earthly  exaltation will never be saved because they don’t want to be 

saved. Jesus wants to save the Pharisees, why do you think he  spent three chapters in the book of St Luke giving parable after  parable to them specifically? He’s trying to open their eyes to the  reality that they can’t save themselves. Jesus, who is the good  shepherd, has come to find those who are lost sheep to save  them. Jesus, who is the most pure and righteous, who is God  incarnate, humbled Himself through the most humbling of means,  martyrdom, so that through Him we, who are all lost sheep, will be  saved. 

Jesus is the good shepherd who abandons his 99 good  sheep who are saved to search far and wide through thick and  thin to find one sheep that is lost and confused. He does not stop  looking for the sheep because he knows that the others are safe,  but that this one little sheep is in dire need of being found. Does  the shepherd gather his friends and rejoice over the 99 that are  already found? No! He gathers them for the one that was lost but  is now found. The same applies to Christ, for all of Heaven  rejoices when one sinner repents. All the angels and archangels,  seraphim and cherubim, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy  Spirit, and all the company of saints in Heaven rejoice with a  fanfare of trumpets and loud cheer and endless feasts for one  sinner who has faith in Jesus Christ. Their rejoice is more  rambunctious and filled with mirth over one sinner who is saved  than 99 who are already saved. In fact, there is more joy in  Heaven over one sinner who repents then a thousand who need  no repentance, even a million! 

Again, you see, Jesus did not humble himself for those who  are already saved or claim they are saved through their own 

works. Jesus died to save those who can’t save themselves. The  same applies to justification, which is but another word for saved  in this context. Jesus did not come to justify those who claim to  already be justified or who are justifying themselves through  worldly means. Jesus came to justify those who are unjust. 

Additionally, before any Christian boldly proclaims that he or  she is not as sinful as Lutherans traditionally make every fallen  human to be, a question - who do you believe was the greatest  Christian? Of all Christians, who deserves most to be at Jesus’  right hand? I would boldly wager St Paul, yet pay attention to his  words in 1 Timothy 1:15, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving  of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save  sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” Paul was so humble that he,  multiple times, claimed to be the Chief of Sinners. Paul is saved because he had the humility to accept Jesus Christ not only as  God but also as His Savior. 

And to those who do likewise, who boldly claim that they are  sinners but even more boldly claim that they have faith in Jesus  Christ our Savior and Lord, to you I say, with 100% confidence, I  don’t care what your background is or what you’ve done in your  life, you are saved! 


Praise be to God! Amen.

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