Sunday, February 13, 2011

Salvation is Messy

Two people were saved today following our services. I say that with the understanding that only God really knows their hearts and I am making a statement by faith. Their professions seemed genuine enough and quite emphatic. We'll see. After thirty-five years in the ministry, I've been fooled more often than not. There's not a preacher under the sun that doesn't want every profession of faith in Christ to bear real and lasting fruit. I've come to the point that I almost hold my breath to see what will be the outcome of each profession.
But there is another element with these people in particular. They come will baggage. Tons of it. I find myself always having to undo some emergency, some unforeseen problem their past has dumped on us.
Why is it we always seem to find the really messy sinners? Why can't we convert all the nice "clean" sinners? Why do people always seem to come with baggage? The truth is, we all come with baggage. No one is really clean.
Salvation is messy. Sometimes it's more messy than usual because that's the kind of public we are dealing with these days. We who inhabit the pulpit have to be prepared and committed to getting our hands dirty with the kind of people who need salvation most - the profoundly lost.
Sure, it's a messy proposition. But then again, only the profoundly lost are likely to become the profoundly saved. And when you get right down to it, it is the really bad cases who are our greatest trophies of grace, the ones we really wouldn't regret if we could because they represent our greatest victories.
We really don't need "neat" conversions. We need God's people who are willing to get a little messy. Winning the lost is hard work. Changing lives and habits from a sordid past to a life of grace requires hefty amounts of time, patience and money. And the only way to do it is to jump in.
It's time to get our hands a little dirty.

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