Have you sinned more than this killer?

by Kevin on October 21, 2010

Hunt them down and kill them all

He didn’t pull the trigger. He never fired a shot. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even own a gun. But the Professor was to blame for the murder. He had hunted down this young preacher who now knelt before the crowd. With nothing but satisfaction in his eyes, the executioner nodded his head and the guns fired.

This was his job. He felt called by the scriptures to dole out justice to any that seemed to do something other than the Professor’s interpretation of the Word. He had spent a lifetime studying each word and applyin’ those words as rules for his life. For him, the Professor of Religion, life was black and white.

Rules dominated his life. Rules for cleansing before a meal. Rules before and after prayer. Rules for living. Rules for relationships. Rules for rules. He had all of them memorized. His whole existence was centered on knowing and following these rules.

The Professor knew that his job was to live by these rules and show, or force, others to do the same. Of course, no one would do as well as he did, but he knew that he was special. If someone wanted to get to heaven, all they had to do was to take a look at his life and model themselves after him. He would point them the way home–know the rules….live the rules.

He sat inside the hotel after his work had been completed. He marveled that the young preacher never begged for his life before he died. The audacity of this new movement stoked a fire in his gut that only death itself could quench.

There was concern within the religious institution the Professor belonged to that these followers of Jesus were going against everything the institution believed in. These people were claiming that to get to heaven, you needed only to have faith in a man–in a man!!!

This man that claimed he was the Son of God. This man was nailed to a tree. This Jesus was telling people that he was there to save them and he couldn’t even save himself from the cross.

The Professor would snuff out any of these Jesus followers. He would not allow someone to demean his life’s work and all that he had worked so hard to accomplish. He had volunteered to be the justice dispenser of the whole religious institution for which he worked. He’d hunt down all these “apostles of Christ” that claimed forgiveness came through mercy and grace instead of hard work and steadfast living according to the Law. Oh, he’d hunt them down. He’d hunt all of them down and kill them….that was his duty.

Can a preacher killer get to heaven?

You probably realize by now that the Professor is the great Apostle Paul. It is amazing that we still try to earn our way into heaven just as Paul did nearly 2,000 years ago.

Paul needed rules to go by. He wanted a grading system so he could see if he passed or failed. He was confident in his ability to go by these rules. He’d get to heaven as fast as anyone would…until Jesus changed his life.

Jesus met him on the road to Damascus and set his heart straight. Jesus finally got across to Paul that religion wasn’t about following rules. It was about loving God. Jesus made Paul realize that his purpose in coming to earth was to save people who couldn’t possibly go by all the rules that it took to enter heaven according to the scriptures. Not even Paul could do that.

Jesus came to be that person. The only person who could be perfect and abide by all the rules. Then he was sacrificed for the sins he didn’t commit so that he would be punished for you and me.

Remember why Jesus came:

1 Timothy 1:15-16

15″Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” This saying is true, and it can be trusted. I was the worst sinner of all! 16But since I was worse than anyone else, God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life.

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  • Kevin, what an AWESOME post. This ties in very well with my blog post from this morning, http://www.unsafechallenge.com/2010/10/21/the-different-understandings-of-forgiving/, which is something the Lord has been working with me during the last couple of days.

    How easy is it for us to look and judge from a legalistic point of view. We so easily forget that we need to model our lives around Jesus, and show grace and mercy to even the worst of the worst out there, since God loves us all equally.

  • Don Coyote

    I don’t remember Book, chapter and verse, but I do remember this very same circuit rider (Paul) saying something to the effect that under the old rule book (Law) you ain’t gonna burn any hotter in hell for thievin’ than ya are for misbehavin’ (dishonoring your folks). In short we’re all sinners, havin’ pulled up short ain’t none of us worse than another. Only way to get to where we need to be is through Jesus, not around, behind or beside Him with whatever works or rules we think we can use to circumvent Him.

    Ain’t but One Way, and it’s Him.

    • Kevin

      Amen….well said.

  • I also think that it’s a great reminder not just how it’s only His grace that can save us, but that it is only his grace that can turn us around and make us really see our sin. We can’t talk about sin or strive against sin and expect to really be convicted (or convict others) of sin, but only by looking at His righteousness and Grace can we really make that difference.

    • Kevin

      You’re right. The idea of conviction which leads to repentance is often overlooked. It is only by the Grace of God that this is attainable.

  • Once again this is a great post!

    I have talked to a few folks that have believed that they have done so much wrong that they could never be forgiven. My own father being one of them. The truth is that Jesus died for all of us. Not matter what we have done we can have a new life through the blood of Christ. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Kevin

      I spoke with a man that recently had a brain tumor removed. He had heard God’s call, but he told me that he couldn’t accept the gift of grace because he didn’t deserve it. He was astonished when I told him that he understood what many Christians often failed in.

      We don’t deserve that gift. No one is good enough. And if you think your are, you don’t understand the meaning of the whole Gospel.

      • Don Coyote

        That’s exactly what grace is—getting what ya don’t deserve, mercy being NOT getting what you DO deserve.

        The rest is just religiosity, something that Jesus came to speak out against, if I understand correctly what He’s sayin’

  • Steve Tritle

    Thanks for the work you do on this site. This parable is another fine example of what I have seen so far. I would love to be able to use this at our Youth Group camp fire tomorrow evening if you don’t mind(10/27).

    Your cowboy understandings had me laughing and learning. Feed sack…..that was funny.

    Steve.
    A follower from Iowa.

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