Have You Failed and Failed and Failed? – by Desmond Ford

Sep 9, 2015 2336

failureThe mainspring of all convincing testimonies in the world is love for Christ. So let me ask, how is it lost, how is it found? Here is Luke 7:36-47, one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. However, this is a threat to us if we are Pharisees, though sent in love; but an encouragement to us if we have failed and failed and failed.

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table and behold a woman of the city who was a sinner, when she learned that he was at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster flask of ointment and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with the tears and wipe them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

And when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, if this man were a prophet, he would have known what manner of woman this is who is touching him – she’s a sinner.

Jesus, answering him, said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you,’ he answered, ‘What is it teacher?’ A certain creditor had two debtors, one owed 500 pence and the other 50. When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now, which of them will love him more?’

Simon answered, ‘The one, I suppose to whom he forgave more.’ He said to him, ‘You’ve judged rightly.’ And turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet but she has wet my feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss but from the time I came in, she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven for she loved much. But he who has forgiven little, loves little.’

These two characters represent all mankind. You and I are legalistic and antinomian by turns but here there was one who was antinomian, in particular, adulterous; and the other, a Pharisee, a legalist.

The climax is in that last verse, ‘I tell you that her great love proves that her many sins are forgiven. Where little has been forgiven, little love is shown.’ Mary was cured of her lawlessness by the forgiveness of her sins. Her sins were forgiven when she recognized them as being many. In contrast, Simon felt that his were few. Is not the story shouting the truth so vital for all Christians?

Those serve most and best who believe they have been forgiven most, and those serve least and worst who think they have been forgiven least.

The church’s final service to Christ and the world in spreading the Gospel will only come as the result of the deep conviction of sinfulness and grateful acceptance of the forgiving grace of Christ.

–­ Des Ford. Adapted from “The Visions of Patmos ­– Part 4.”

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