Does God deal with Rogues?
One of the surprising impressions that even a superficial reading of the Bible will give is the number of rogues that appear in its pages. The idea that God only deals with "good" people is soon dispelled.
Take for example just one or two of the people mentioned as the ancestors of Jesus. Jacob was a cheat, a liar who deceived his elderly blind father in order to obtain the inheritance of the first born, thus disinheriting his elder brother. Or take David, the man who is described as being a "man after God’s own heart", yet who engineered the murder of a man in order to pinch his wife.
Or take Matthew, the writer of one of the Gospel accounts in the New Testament, who was a fraudster, and hated as a collaborator with the occupying power.
These three examples serve to demonstrate that the Christian Gospel is something to do, not so much with being good, but with changing lives. Jesus Himself said when being criticised for hobnobbing with such people as these "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."
As we look at these we see something distinct about the Christian faith. God takes the initiative in coming to us, in dealing with us and changing us if only we will let Him. In Jacob's case we read of God coming to him at night, of God wrestling with him all night until he cried out in helpless despair for God’s blessing. Finally Jacob gave in and the ever merciful God made him a new man - and a blessing to so many.
In David's case his awful lapse into murder and adultery led him to one of the most public confessions on record. It is recorded for us in Psalm 51, containing the prayer "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin."
By contrast, Matthew's repentance was shown in a different way - by throwing a great party which scandalised the religious hierarchy since he had not invited the "right" people - but people like himself, the outcasts of society. Matthew spent the rest of his life serving his Lord.
So the Lord Jesus says to you and to me "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." Yes the Gospel news is that if we feel we are not good enough for God, then we are on the right lines for discovering that He has been chasing us and is always there for us.
We may have difficult times to go through as we come to terms with what it means to follow Jesus - but what relief when we finally give in to the one whose Name is Love - He just longs to find us!