11/26/13 Luis and Karen 17
Did Jesus come to save sinners or good people? I wasn’t trying to confuse him with a trick question, but this really stumped a young man named Luis, who, along with his girlfriend Karen, had agreed to answer my questions about their beliefs at a local McDonalds. From the start they told me they had different beliefs: he grew up in an Apostolic Church and had been baptized there as a born-again believer fairly recently; she was Catholic but didn’t believe in the concept of a judgment or punishment for sin. They also admitted that religion is a topic they really haven’t talked about as a couple, so I viewed it as a chance to help Luis better clarify just what it means to be “born again” and to help them begin that conversation with each other. Unfortunately. like so many churchgoers, Luis was confused about the cause and effects of salvation: he thought he would go to heaven because of the good things he has done as opposed to doing good things because he is going to heaven; salvation by our own good works rather than by the work of Jesus on the cross. Why then did Jesus live and die among us as He did? “As an example for us to follow” Luis said. In one sense, he was right – Jesus is the ultimate example by which to compare our lives – a life perfectly lived. But if that’s all He came for – to set a good example – then we have no hope of forgiveness when we fail to live up to that example. No, he came to save us. So did Jesus come to save sinners or good people? Compared to His example, are there any “good people”? Jesus said, “No one is good—except God alone” (Mark 10) Compared to Himself, or even simply compared to the Ten Commandments, there are no “good people” by God’s standards. Jesus did come to save sinners. And our job as forgiven sinners is to respectfully help others see that.