"For all have sinned..."
Scott Tibbs, October 11, 2003
While notorious serial murderer Ted Bundy was waiting to be put to death, Dr. James Dobson interviewed him about the addiction to pornography that led him down an evil road. After the interview, Dobson said that he believed Bundy had repented of his sin and went to Heaven.
Many people, Christians and non-Christians, found this shocking, and were outraged by Dobson's words. After all, how can someone like Bundy go to Heaven while others who have led "good lives" do not? How can Bundy be walking the streets of gold if some of his victims are in Hell?
As a human being, I find this very difficult to accept. But as a Christian, I cannot deny the eternal truth of the Holy Scriptures. If Bundy repented, asked for forgiveness, and accepted Jesus Christ into his heart, then he is in fellowship with the Lord in Heaven and will be there for all eternity. God is willing to accept us, all of us, if only we accept Him. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," 1 John 1:9. Furthermore, every person comes to salvation the same way. "Jesus saith unto him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me'," John 14:6.
God is pleased when a sinner repents. Read the words of Jesus: "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." Luke 15:7. As much as our flesh finds this difficult to admit, that includes even the "worst" sinners.
What Dobson said is 100% opposed to human "wisdom". But Christians must remember this: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." I Corinthians 2:14. Our flesh cannot understand Biblical truth, so we must accept it by faith. The Bible makes it clear how God sees human "wisdom"."For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain," 1 Corinthians 3:19-20
This has been brought to the forefront of my mind this week, when I was upset with a friend. But one thing is very clear: if most people were to observe the way I act, they would not think I am a Christian. I lose my temper, I use foul language, and I treat people poorly. I don't act in a Christ-like manner. I should be (and I am) ashamed of myself. While I like to think "my sins are not as bad as the sins of that person over there", they are. God is a perfect God, He is a Holy God, and He cannot have any fellowship with sin. The Bible says "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23. I am deserving of eternal Hell Fire, every bit as much as anyone else. Only through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ can I have any hope of entering Heaven.
Am I really as bad in God's eyes as John Geoghan, Jeffrey Dahmer, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, etc.? Yes, I am. James 2:10-11 says; "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." Any sin is separation from God, and condemns one's soul.
We cannot trust in our own "righteousness". "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God", Romans 3:10-11. We cannot be self-righteous as Christians. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.", Ephesians 2:8-9.
Does this mean we cannot speak against ungodliness in our culture, that we cannot stand for Christian values? No, it does not. We are commanded to stand for Biblical truth. But we must do so with an attitude that we are defending these principles, not puffing ourselves up above our neighbors. Christians must advocate Christian principles with the understanding that we are sinners, saved by grace. When we look down on another person, thinking we are somehow "better", we commit the sin of pride.