Allison Mangrum – Worship Leader
Have you ever heard someone say those words? Perhaps you’ve said them yourself? Maybe they were in reference to a serial murderer or a child abuser: “There’s a special place in hell for that guy!” Or maybe the more subtle “Just wait till he has to answer to God–he’ll get his due!”
It’s all too easy for us to measure our “goodness” against others’ “badness”—I might be critical and judgmental, but at least I’m not a terrorist. But here’s the thing—we are all sinners. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In God’s eyes all sin is equally bad and separates us from His perfectness. No one sin is worse than another. And no one sinner is better than another. That means that in God’s justice system, we are no better than the murderer or the pedophile. And they are no less loved by God than we are.
Romans 5:6-8 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
It is God’s deepest desire to reconcile all of His children to Him. He wants it so much that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. For all sins and for all sinners. Every single one. It is not His desire for anyone to go to hell, regardless of how they have sinned.
2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (emphasis mine)
I recently read “Jesus Is …” by Judah Smith. It is an excellent read and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
“But our badness does not change for an instant the overpowering love of God for us. If anything, it makes him that much more determined to rescue us. He will never give up on us, no matter how much we run from him. No sinner is irreparable or irredeemable. No sin is so great that the blood of Jesus cannot cover it.” – Judah Smith (emphasis mine)
Through His death on the cross, Jesus has given each and every person an open invitation to a relationship with Him. And for all who accept this invitation, there’s a special place in heaven …