Luke 5:32 “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Look at these words of Jesus from Luke 5:32 “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” What a scandal! Do you realize that the Pharisees and the scribes had already set themselves apart for service to God? That these men had memorized the scriptures carried out the commandments, they had performed, or at least attempted to perform the temple worship as prescribed in the law. Then our Lord comes eats with sinners and tax collectors, and has the audacity to tell these scribes and Pharisees I have called these sinners to repentance, I have not come to call you!.” No wonder they wanted to kill Him. To give your whole life to serving God (at least as they understood it) and to have this fanatic come along and undo everything you ever did. Can you sense the tension the Pharisees must have felt as more and more people began to follow Jesus? It is one thing when some flash in the pan cult leader pops up and few people leave the fold to follow him, but this man, this Jesus comes on the scene and the masses are flocking to Him. The Pharisees tend to be the subject of ridicule to the Church today, and they were the subject of ridicule to Jesus as well, but I do not think the Church looks at the reality of what the Pharisees were. They were the self proclaimed bearers of truth, there whole lives were built on this premise, there occupation, reputation and purpose were built on performing the ordinances of God. Then one man undoes it all. He destroyed with His teachings everything they were, and because of Him they went from powerful to obsolete, can you sense why they may cry “Crucify Him.” Many people today are ready to crucify political leaders because of a few ideas they have, like a Hillary Clinton or a George Bush, but neither of them have pulled out the very foundations our lives are built upon. Jesus with His teachings effectively slaughtered the Pharisees and rendered them worse than dead.
But look at what the teaching that crushed them was:
“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
The clear gospel call is that sinners would come to repentance. The call is that the reprobate would be redeemed, the unclean would be cleansed, the depraved be made holy, and the lost be found. This gospel is not merely a story of forgiveness and the love of God, no it is far more than that. It is the very power of God unto salvation. It has been said before on this blog, the gospel is not a tool! It is the very power of God! It has been said that it takes far more power for God to redeem a man and make Him holy than it took for Him to create the universe, because the universe was a blank canvas for God, yet men are already laden with sin and defilement. The nothingness before the universe came into existence was pure, yet our recreation was from something already stained.
The call is to sinners! The reprobate and depraved, the unclean and the vile, to you and to me, these are the souls whom Jesus has called. This, though it was a great insult to the Pharisees, should be a reason for great rejoicing by us. The issue we fall into is that the Lord in His great mercy and love will begin the work of regeneration in us and we in some case become born again and become the very workmanship of God (see Ephesians 2). Then for whatever reason, be it pride, self reliance, the remnants of unbelief, or something else, we begin to think that we are the righteous. We in our own indolence forgo seeking hard after God, because we have forgotten who we are outside of Him. We see ourselves as righteous and because of that we lose the very calling of God. “I have not called the righteous…” We lose the call and then unbelief creeps in, we question all that we ever did, we doubt every work that God has ever done in us and we render everything meaningless. However if He has begun a good work He will complete it, and if we are ever in that spot of doubt and despair, cling to this: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinner to repentance.” It is so important for every believer when they begin to doubt to examine themselves. Why do you doubt? It is because at some point you found yourself to be righteous, and not long after that you fell. Why did you fall, because you were “righteous” in your own eyes because of some working that you had done. You fell because you no longer had the call of God, because Christ “did not come ot call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
(I am not sure if any of that made sense, I hope it does.)