The Lord Jesus is more than willing to save even the worst of sinners. Are you willing to go to him so that you can have life?
Satan doesn’t try to tell unbelievers that Jesus’s is unable to save. That would be much easier to refute. Instead, the lie we focus on here, as with the one about our worthiness, is a personal attack against us. So it stings more, it hurts our pride, plunging us into a darker place of hopelessness.
Too far gone?
But is there a point at which a person sins so much, or so gravely, that Jesus would be unwilling to save them? Scriptures such as Romans 1 hint at this, in which we learn God “gives over” some sinners to the consequences of their rebellion.
And ample instances in the Old Testament show God “giving up” on his wayward people, allowing other nations to conquer them. And yet his promise of restoration and return never wavers.
For instance, Paul in 1 Corinthians mentions a church member whom he “hands over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh” because of ongoing unrepentance. But in that case, the person is a believer, and the stern punishment is to release their soul from a rebellious life.
We could pick the Bible apart all day to find seeming occasions where God says, “Enough.” But here we need to roll the camera back and take in a broader view. When we do, everything in the story of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection argues against this discouragement.
In little more than a page of text in chapter six of Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices, Thomas Brooks assures readers through Jesus’s life that the Lord is more than willing to save any and all who come to him.
Brooks shows this truth in six ways.
1. Jesus was willing to come to us
First, think for a few minutes about the only Son of the eternal God coming to earth in the form of a baby. Through the natural (yet miraculous) means of conception, in a rural home in a backwater town, Jesus was born.
Why? For what purpose did God orchestrate these awe-inspiring events? That we might have an example of humility? That He might overthrow a pagan empire? We shouldn’t settle for such paltry reasons.
No, God sent Jesus into the world to perform millions upon millions of invisible miracles – transforming lost sinners into saints. One by one, by faith, we prove Jesus’s willingness to transverse the indiscernible boundary of eternity and become our Savior.
To Brooks’s two Scripture references that prove his point (Matt 9:13 and 1 Tim. 1:15), I’ll add one more:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:6–8, ESV
2. Jesus was willing to empty himself
Next, we see the Lord’s willingness to save not only in his mere coming to us, but more profoundly in his becoming like us. He, the eternal Deity, took on humanity.
We do not have room here to fully explore kenosis (Greek, “emptying”) theory. If you wish, you may explore centuries worth of books on the subject. The word comes from the Scripture that may illustrate this truth the best:
… who, though he [Jesus] was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.Philippians 2:6–7, ESV
There are two key concepts in these verses I want to highlight. First …
That Jesus emptied himself does not mean he ceased to be God while he was man on earth.
This is clear through his miraculous powers. By “emptying,” we should understand Jesus laid aside the rights and glories of his deity. Think of a king removing his royal robes and crown, putting on the costume of a commoner, and assuming a role of an everyday subject.
To Jesus’s existence as God, he added to himself existence as human. Second …
Jesus did this because of who he is, not in spite of it.
Some translations say “because he was in the form of God,” not “although.” This is more accurate. In other words, the Lord could take on the Savior assignment due to his being God. The assignment didn’t conflict with who he had been from all eternity. No, it actually perfectly aligned with this reality.
Jesus was willing to come to earth, empty himself, and save you from your sin. This sacrificial act of redemption wasn’t a detour from his universal reign, but his most glorious conquest as King.
3. Jesus was willing to confront sin
In his third point, Brooks uses the sea as metaphor to show Christ’s willingness to “wade through” the mire of sin to reach his lost sheep.
Think of the turbulent sea Jesus walked across to reach his friends on their boat.
Or, think of the mass of broken humanity Jesus struggled through to reach a sick girl.
After a terrible hurricane, we see news footage of people sifting through the wreckage of their homes. Broken people push through chest-deep, brackish water and piles of debris to find a precious item. A family photograph. A war medal. A beloved dog or cat.
In the same way, Jesus, God’s eternal Son, stepped on his human feet through the sludge of all that offended him. He came into contact with what defiled him. He dirtied his hands and his robes with the filth of our rebellion. All to reach us, grasp us, and retrieve us from it.
He did all this before you took your first breath, knowing you would need his rescue.
4. Jesus was willing to send messengers
The Lord’s was not the first voice to proclaim a time of God’s favor. We see next that many messengers of God’s mercy have called sinners to repent over the millennia. The Gospels teach us Jesus was the one who sent them.
In the gospels, Jesus tells a parable about a vineyard owner (see Matt. 21:33; Mark 12:1; Luke 20:9). The man leases the land to tenants to care for it and reap its fruit while he goes away on other business.
After some time, the owner sends emissaries to his land to redeem his fruit. The tenants, in turn, abuse or murder each one. Finally, the man sends his own son to his vineyard, who experiences the same fate.
You who doubt God’s willingness to save: you are the fruit. Time after time, those who were supposed to guard and nurture the objects of God’s affection failed. Yet he kept reaching out, even sending his beloved Son.
The messengers keep coming today. Pastors, teachers, authors, and even good friends remind you of God’s love expressed in Jesus’s life, death and resurrection. Don’t let your heart grow cold because of those who failed you.
5. Jesus was willing to plead with sinners
Where the prophets failed, the Lord himself called sinners to repent and follow him. The gospel of Mark tells us this is the reason he came.
Matthew corroborates this. Late in his Gospel, Jesus laments over his people’s treatment of his messengers across the centuries.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!Matthew 23:37, ESV
The Lord says those attempts to reach Israel during all their years of rejection were his own offers of mercy. In this, we plainly see Christ’s willingness to save.
Jesus refused to give up on his people. He came in the flesh to accomplish what the prophets could not. Like them, he would bear the marks of their wrath. But unlike them, he would rise again, conquering death and making straight the path to salvation.
His words show we are the unwilling ones. To call Jesus indifferent to our plight is to succumb to pride. How much better to be gathered to him in love and forgiveness
6. Jesus is willing to rejoice with sinners
In each of the first two parables in Luke 15, Jesus tells us heaven rejoices over one person coming to repentant faith. First, the woman who finds her precious coin tells her neighbors the good news of its recovery. Then, the shepherd who retrieves his wayward sheep announces his joy to his village.
Yet look at the final parable, the “prodigal” son. Why doesn’t Jesus remind his hearers a third time about the exultant songs in God’s kingdom? Where is the conclusion to this wonderful redemption story?
The father rejoices to welcome his dead son back to life. But what about the brother? Where is his joy?
The hard truth is that some people will not find your salvation a cause to celebrate. Friends and family may scoff at your faith. Colleagues may find religion beneath you, or them. Even a spouse may find your conversion hard to accept.
But Jesus rejoices to bring you home.
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”Zephaniah 3:17, ESV
Let the boisterous voice of Christ your redeemer drown out the world’s disapproval and the enemy’s discouragement.