I have over the last 20+ years of ministry heard every excuse imaginable for someone not liking the “Christian” faith or wanting to be associated with the Christian faith. I am sure you have heard them too, things like:
“Christianity (or any religion) is just a crutch” comes from those who think they got it all together and do not need any ones help.
“My past makes me unworthy” while not as common as others this one has deep rooted guilt for past transgressions and can be very hard to overcome
“I’m not ready to change yet” Oh pity those who use this, for they are truly without excuse. They have an understanding of their sinful nature but love the dark side so much they are unwilling to give it up to soon.
“They are all a bunch of hypocrites” maybe the second most used; stemming from seeing them in bars on Saturday and church pews on Sunday. Or for many young folks that grew up in church it maybe they see any act of weakness on the part of church leaders (human nature) as hypocrisy instead of what it really is sin. Also under this category I hear things like ‘I don’t get a “religion” where you can just go sin and ask for forgiveness and all is okay’ referring to 1 John 1:9.
“I’m A Good Person” I have never killed or …. you have heard the list. Unfortunately they are comparing their standard of good to themselves and not that of the Creator of the Universe.
MAN IS NOT GOOD – Romans 3:23 all mankind has sinned, Romans 6:23 the righteous punishment for man’s sin is death
WITHOUT EXCUSE – Romans 1:20 (AMP) For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. Man can come up with any excuse he wishes but none hold water before a righteous God.
GOD PROVIDES THE ANSWER – Romans 5:8 God sent His only begotten Son to save mankind.
Porque el Hijo del Hombre vino a buscar y a salvar lo que se había perdido. (RVR 1960)
Here we have the very essence of the Gospel. Jesus’s work at Calvary was for a specified purpose to save sinners, not every sinner as some believe (universalism), but as our text says the lost.
So who are these lost? In this story Luke 19:1-10 Jesus has an encounter with a rich Tax Collector named Zacchaeus. There are some things that need be pointed out here:
v.1-4 Zacchaeus first seeks after Jesus. Like so many we he sought in futility to get close to Jesus but failed.
v.5 Jesus tells Zacchaeus to stop seeking, stop trying on your own to save yourself, I must do the work.
v.6 There will always be naysayers, those with excuses to hate you and and Christ. Here the crowd grumbled at Jesus’s choice to associate with Zacchaeus. They thought him beneath them and so Jesus should ignore him.
v.7-10 Jesus rebukes them not so much in words (at first) but in actions. By going to Zacchaeus house Jesus makes it clear that He did not come to associate with the High and Mighty Holy Rollers, the Pious crowd of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Remember Jesus’s 7 woes (warnings) to the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23.
No Jesus makes it clear, Zacchaeus and folks like him, the truly LOST are the reason I came to earth. Because man on his own is not Good enough to save himself from eternal damnation.
I have used this many times, an old Army expression of mine “The maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters” I jokingly say I have heard them all, but God truly has heard the hearts Psalm 44:21 of all mankind. While you may think you are a good person, you will never be good enough to get to heaven on your own.
Are you like Zacchaeus today? Making excuses feeling you can seek Jesus on your own terms? The time for excuses is over, the Holy Spirit is pricking at your heart strings and calling upon you to as Paul writes in Romans 10:9-13 (AMP)
… acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations].” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile; for the same Lord is Lord over all [of us], and [He is] abounding in riches (blessings) for all who call on Him [in faith and prayer]. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.”