God Saves Sinners

More good stuff from John Ensor in “The Great Work of the Gospel”:

“Both the Pharisees and Jesus use the word “sinner,” but in slightly different ways. The use in either case is jarring to the modern ear, so highly trained are we never to think negatively of ourselves. Hopefully we are past that obstacle by now. Not only are we not offended by it, we are glad to number ourselves among the sinners. It means that Jesus has us in view in the rescuing work that he came to do. When he says he did not come to call the righteous, he means that he did not come to bring the self righteous into the grace and mercy of God. They admit to no wrongdoing that needs the cure of mercy. And when he says that he came to call sinners, he means he came to deliver self-confessing sinners in to the grace of God…

“Jesus is called Savior because ‘he will save his people from their sins’ (Matt 1:21). Jesus is our great Rescuer because he rescues us from the penalty of our sins and from the enslaving power of sin. What a cruel joke it would be for God to forgive sinners and leave them habitually sinning. Blaise Pascal wrote in his famous Pensees, ‘It is unworthy of God to unite himself to wretched man, yet it is not unworthy of God to lift man up out of his wretchedness.’ This is what Jesus does as our Rescuer. Jesus ‘saved us and called us to a holy calling’ (2 Timothy 1:9). To get a true and accurate vision of Christ as our Rescuer, we must see that he rescues us from the heartfelt desire to habitually sin.”