Reading: “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” Luke 15:2
And you, my beloved Christian brethren, you who know him; you who have tasted that the Lord is gracious; you who have with the full concert of every power of soul, humbly but delightedly given yourselves away to Christ, and who would gladly renew the gift a thousand thousand times, adding to it if you could the inhabitants of a thousand thousand worlds; you come hither this day with a welcome!
Of this you need have no doubt. Let me for your encouragement dwell on two thoughts. (1) You are coming to one who is clothed in a vesture dipped in blood. You are coming to Him who died for you (the simplest but greatest truth in all religion). If now this Redeemer lays such stress on His sacrificial work and precious bloodshedding, as not even to ride in triumph without the badge of His death, how confidently may you approach Him with hope of being received!
The day is coming, I know, when Christ is to be on a throne of judgment. THEN having died in your sins it will indeed be too late to pray to Him; and though you pray to rocks and mountains, they will no more melt, at your cry, than your hearts have melted at the cry of God. But now, Jesus is upon the throne of grace. He treats with you from the mercy-seat. It is a duty you owe Him, to cast away these unbelieving hesitations. He commands you to believe; He commands you to rejoice. He offers you Himself gratuitously. And still I think I perceive some of you, even of long standing in Christianity, murmuring in your tents as if it were false that “this man receiveth sinners.” You doubt and distrust. This has come upon you for your sins, your worldly compliances, your neglects, your idolatries. You have lost your evidences, and are afraid of your Saviour. But O, tell me, is this the way to treat one who died for you! Shame on your scruples and delay! Come boldly to the throne of grace, that you may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
“Communion with God makes bitter things sweet; and massive things light.”—Thomas Brooks
Adapted from J. W. Alexander (God is Love, 362ff) To be continued…