Summary: So many people have decided they've messed up too many times for God to ever love them. But what does God have to say about that? Check out these thoughts from Family Minister Scott Jewell

Knowing I was headed to inner city ministry, I decided it could be useful to have my ear pierced as a conversation starter. How'd that work? I'd go to the local park to play basketball, often getting picked first so I could go home and tell my friends about how I got to hoop with the boys in the hood. I'd point out that I was living about two blocks over, in their neighborhood, which typically garnered the response, "Why?" I'd then tell them about the ministry where I was serving.

Someone would inevitably suggest that I couldn't be a minister, I was wearing an earring! I would respond, "Let me tell you about my earring," and proceeded to share how in the OT, an indentured servant could decide that he liked how his master treated him and become his slave for life. The master would then pierce his ear by using an awl against a doorpost and the servant would become his servant for life. I had chosen to wear a small hoop to represent God's unending love for us and to mark that I am his lifelong servant.

Seeking a way to end the conversation, a lot of guys would respond with something along the lines of, "Well, I've got too much dirt. There's no way God could love me!" I'd come back with, "Let me tell you about a man named Barabbas." I'd then explain how this criminal was released so Jesus would be crucified and Jesus literally died in his place. Legend has it that Barabbas returned to his old rebellious, murderous ways and was eventually arrested and sent to an island work camp where most of the other prisoners were persecuted Christians. Over time, Barabbas learned exactly who this Jesus was who had died in his place and decided to repent and become a follower of Christ. All the prisoners were tagged with an earring that had a symbol of Caesar to show that they belonged to him. Barabbas took his earring, rubbed off Caesar's symbol, and replaced it with a symbol of Christ to show that he now belonged to Jesus.

Now, if someone with as much dirt as Barabbas could become a follower of Jesus, do you really think you have too much dirt for God to handle it? Sometimes, this was received with a shrug and an, "I just don't know." Other times, guys would agree that maybe they did need to take a closer look into being Christian.

Let’s take a look at today’s scripture to see how this concept of too much dirt gets addressed. Read Romans 5:6-11. What an amazing thought is expressed here. While we were weak (NIV says powerless), while we were still sinners (covered in our dirt), while we were God’s enemies, Christ died for us. As a result, we have been reconciled with God, avoiding His wrath, and given a life full of rejoicing.

Just think about how incredible this idea is. Paul tells us in verse 7 that one will scarcely die for a righteous person, let alone a good one. The world tends to agree. Many of our hero stories involve someone making a sacrifice, some even make what we call the ultimate sacrifice- giving their life to protect another person. They do it because they see value in the person being saved.

For example, the movie Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of Desmond Doss. His convictions of faith led him to become a pacifist. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the army as a medic, determined to serve in a role in which he wouldn’t have to carry a gun. Being in the military and refusing to carry a gun didn’t make him very popular. He had to face dishonorable discharge and beat the charges before being sent overseas to serve as a medic. During a battle in Okinawa, Doss was able to save the lives of 75 injured men while never wielding a gun. He was the first conscientious objector to ever receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was willing to risk his life for those soldiers because he believed in their cause. In a manner of speaking, he felt they deserved a chance to live. Jesus, however, gave His life even though NONE of us deserve His sacrifice.

The account of Barabbas that I shared at the beginning is a legend- I can't prove whether or not it actually happened, but it does give us something to think about. However, I can share the events of Paul's life with complete confidence that what I am sharing is historically accurate because he shares these things in the Bible- God's inspired word passed down through generations so we can know Him and make Him known. When Paul wrote these words in chapter 5, I believe it was as much a reminder for himself as it was for the Romans. Allow me to explain. Imagine you’re a jury and I’m presenting evidence.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion