“I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”-St. Matthew 9:13

      I think all of us at one time have heard someone say, “There is no point in me reading the Bible since I am such sinner.” This sort of comment typically comes from people believe in God, but seem to have given up spiritual life as a bad job. They claim that their own inabilities to live as the other Christians they know do (or at least pretend to) is the prime obstacle in living a devout Christian life.
They speak as if Bible reading, prayer, and attending Church are exercises designed for hardcore Christians only. To them reading the Bible is for preachers, teachers, and canvassers. Prayer is for the extreme devout and masters of faith. And Church is for members of a deeply entrenched religious circle who make Communion, worship, and potlucks a year-long routine. They believe that since they sleep in on Sunday, cuss a bit too much, have a few too many r-rated movies in the house, and live with someone with whom they are not married then they must not be the right people to be reading the Bible and being religious. “Leave religion to those better than us” they cry.
However, that sort of thinking is dead wrong. Not only were they in mind when God’s Word was presented to man, but they were almost exclusively in mind in many respects. In St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy he says in chapter 1, verses 9 and 10; “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.”
Paul, in that passage, straight out informs us that God’s Word was designed for those who were lost. To say that there is no sense in reading the Bible because you are a sinner is as reasonable as saying that you don’t need to take a cough drop because your throat already hurts. If everyone was righteous and deeply spiritual there would be no Bible and the majority of Church history would have been vastly different.

I think there are two main causes for this misconception that it is pointless for sinners to read God’s Word.
The first is that the Church has encouraged this sort of thinking. Churches across the globe have a sour history of making people living in sin feel worthless and unwelcome. In many situations where a church body should have aided and helped someone reaching out to them they instead drove them off with dire condemnation, verbal expressions of damnation, and venomous hatred. Many churches have grown insular and clique-y, preferring the familiarity of its own people without the disquieting intrusion of those in need of real ministry.
The second cause is simply that it isn’t a true misconception at all and the person eschewing spiritual life is using their sin as an excuse and a cop-out to avoid spiritual responsibility. In that situation you can only pray for them and keep making yourself available. Choices have to be made by the individual and being dishonest with oneself does not make responsibility to God simply vanish.
In regard to the former situation this is a longstanding problem the Church has had for years. Compassion and taking on the true nature of Christ is our best defense in combating the world’s continual rejection of the Church and Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Published by Rick Mcgimpsey