The Gospel Coalition has an article today talking about Pastor Henry Gerecke who led some of Hitler’s most notorious henchmen to Christ. I don’t know about you, but when I think of the horrific things that Hitler and his regime did, my natural (sinful) reaction is to take satisfaction that their eternal punishment is well-deserved.
Too bad my natural reaction isn’t a little more biblical: seeing my own sin as deserving of eternal punishment! A notable quote from the article reveals the truly scandalous nature of God’s grace:
“But the truth is that people are not condemned because they murder, or steal, or lie. They are condemned because they reject Jesus as the one who has already endured hell for them on the cross and earned a place for them in heaven. There is no one so vile that he is beyond redemption.”
When mass-murder, rape, tyranny, and terrorism aren’t the things that condemn us for eternity, we must conclude that the one thing that does condemn must be far worse than these other harrowing sins. And indeed it is. Jesus Christ had the sin of the world placed on Him as He was brutally crucified. To refuse that gift of mercy and grace is to be ultimately lost, and “…there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment…” (Hebrews 10:26-31). And that judgment has NOTHING to do with any crime committed, but ONLY to do with rejecting the Son of God.
Don’t believe me? Are you still reeling from the concept that someone who committed such atrocities could be saved by simple faith in the Son of God, while someone who has lived a nice moral life but failed to believe in Jesus would be condemned? Does that still make your blood boil a bit? Hear the words of Jesus found right after one of the Bible’s most well-known verses:
John 3:17–18 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
I am eternally glad that salvation is God’s gracious gift bestowed on us through Christ by faith alone. How about you?