“But with all the stuff I’m into, I don’t know if God’s promise of salvation includes me anymore.” That’s what Edmonton’s greatest con artist told me at The Rock one morning. Or at least that’s what he claimed to be. (The Rock is an inner city ministry which feeds the poor and homeless three mornings a week.)
I was in a discussion with a homeless man, James, who claimed he was making $5,000 a week, all of it going toward his social life…his cocaine addiction. Having grown up in a Christian home, he knew his Bible fairly well, certainly enough to know of God’s promise of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. He indicated that I wasn’t the only one he talked to about his dilemma, so I was curious as to what kinds of responses he had heard thus far. He shared that everyone he talked to was concerned about his eternal well-being and gave him similar suggestions as to how he could get help in shaking his addiction, as this was the reason he was ripping people off, in essence, stealing their money. (Suggestions to check into an addiction clinic would take care of his addiction and getting a “regular job” would enable him to make honest money. Some even suggested he should give honest money to charities as retribution for stealing from honest people.)
The Law of God had done its work. James was terrified of his sinful life and where it was leading him…or better put, what it was leading him away from. In his search for answers, well-meaning people gave him suggestions of what he could do. Unfortunately, we can do nothing about our sinful state which separates us from God. We would be lost eternally if not for the love of our heavenly Father. His heart was breaking over the loss of the crown of His creation…you and me. And so He paid the price for our sins with the blood of His own Son, Jesus Christ. In exchange for our sins, He gave us Jesus' righteousness and perfection.
This is what I shared with James, the homeless man. In this life, he would continue to struggle with his sins, as well as the sins of others. But he need not struggle with his eternal well-being. Christ already did that…and won! In fact, He is preparing a place in heaven for everyone who believes in Him. Even if it takes until eternity, James would be homeless no more!
In our discussion, I found a number of verses from Romans 8 to be very helpful.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. While we continue to struggle in this life, I reminded James that God will work all things for our good as we grow to love and trust Him more each day.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. And finally, God will supply our every need, even the protection against those who would deceive us… 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You have promised to care for my every need. In Jesus Christ, You have taken care of my greatest need, that of forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Help me to trust in Your promises, living a life of hope, sharing Your love with those in my life. Through the forgiveness that is mine in Christ, help me overcome temptations in this life, that in word and deed, I may reflect the new life that is mine. In Jesus’ name. Amen.