I’m listening to a friends church sermons right now. My buddy Johnathan from Cornerstone Worship Center in Nampa, Idaho is doing a series called “Church is for Dirty People.” They’re reading through Galatians and discussing the thought that church isn’t for the righteous, but for those who need to be saved.
Dirty people? Does this mean that church is for Pigpen from Peanuts? Yes…and no. Physically filthy people shouldn’t be denied entry into the church, but that’s not what Johnathan is referring to. Sin make us dirty, or as Isaiah puts it, filthy rags. As Jesus Himself put it – “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 2:17b ESV. Church is a hospital for the sick, a place of mercy, grace, and salvation.
Today, many practice legalism. “You’re saved by faith in Christ, and then you do this, and this and this…” As soon as someone adds to this list anything other than faith in Christ (and potentially baptism and communion) it is not scripturally accurate. This is not a new phenomena. In fact, it happened in the scriptures themselves. Early in Galatians Paul comes right out and says that they were too easily led astray by a false teaching of the Gospel. Read in Galatians. Paul was referring to the Judaizers. Okay, who were the Judaizers?
Judaizers were a group of Christians who believed, and taught (convincingly mind you), that for gentiles to be saved through Christ they must first convert to Judaism. This meant that the men must be circumcised and keep the Jewish tradition and laws to be saved. Ever wonder why the New Testament talked about circumcision so much…now you know. Paul tells us in Romans that the Law isn’t there to save, but to illuminate sin to us. The Law is there so that we know we have done wrong against God, not to bring us to Him. Christ died to bring us to Him. Christ and Christ alone is the means to God the Father.
Church is for dirty people, it is a hospital for the sick and the broken. If you don’t see a “hypocrite” in a church, then that church is doing something wrong. If the Gospel is what is being taught, then there should be people there needing to hear it…and we all need to hear it. You can’t save yourself, Christ is the one who saves. You are filthy, I am filthy, we are all filthy. Be cleansed by the shower of redemptive grace that is offered by our Lord Christ Jesus.