Imagine walking into a hospital and every patient was in good health, never been ill, no traumatic incident behind their hospitalisation, they’re just well. Now imagine yourself going to your GP and he welcomes you and says, “Now tell me, what seems to be the problem?” You answer, “There’s nothing wrong with me at all, I’m perfectly well thank you.”
These are nonsense scenarios that could never happen, which makes us understand something Jesus once said. To a group of religious people, who were complaining about the company he kept, he said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill.” (1) We all agree, he’s perfectly correct, but Jesus then goes on to say, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (2)
This too is perfectly correct, which may mean for some of you, don’t waste your time reading this. I can’t help you, neither can Jesus. You’re on your own, but don’t worry. If you’re a righteous person you’re fine, you don’t need a Saviour, you can do it all on your own. Jesus doesn’t need to waste his time on you, there are lots of sinners out there who genuinely need his help.
You do have a problem though, with the assertion that you’re righteous. Of course, you won’t say it like that, the word ‘righteous’ is a bit old-fashioned. You’ll be saying words like, “I’m ok. I lead a good life. I don’t hurt anyone. I give to charity. I help where I can. God will let me into heaven.” If that’s you, I like you already. You’re definitely a decent person and I suspect I’d enjoy your company. The thing is though, you’re not righteous according to the Bible, and God’s evaluation.
There are two significant Bible verses that explain your predicament, mine too. The first one says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (3) The second one says, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (4)
You may object to this evaluation that none of us are righteous and all are sinners. Don’t object, breathe a sigh of relief because Jesus didn’t come to call the righteous but the sinners. If you’re a sinner he’s here for you. It means he left heaven and came to earth for you. It means he loves you and died on a cross of wood for you. It means he suffered and died for your sins.
This was the reason Jesus came to earth. Sin is destroying us. It separates us from God with horrific, eternal consequences. We can do nothing about it, so God himself has done something by letting Jesus take our sin and die because of it. If we believe that Jesus died for us, which will be reflected in the way we move forward with our lives, living them for Jesus and not for ourselves, then we are saved from the consequences of our sin. We are the sinners called to repentance.
Don’t hang on to the notion that you’re righteous. Admit you’re a sinner so you can be saved.
- Luke 5:31
- Luke 5:32
- Romans 3:23
- Romans 3:10