Outside the wind is blowing. The snow blankets the sash of your windows, but the sun shines through onto your face. You are thoughtful, thinking of the day ahead. All of a sudden your neighbor bursts in through your door ranting, raving, flaying their arms directly at you.
They exclaim, “How could you? Give it all back!”
You raise your arms in defense, hoping to quench their temper, and figure out what this is about. You ask, “what have I done? Give what back? My friend, what is it?”
They stop their advance, nostrils still flaring, “You know what! You broke in my home and stole my belongings!”
You are taken aback, “What? I did no such thing. It wasn’t me!”
They laugh mockingly, “You didn’t? I saw you do it today!”
“You did not! How could I? I have been here all day! It was not me!”
They look coldly into your confused eyes, stating, “I saw you, you had your long, brown, patched jacket with your brown ball cap.” He sees your jacket hung over the chair, he reaches and takes it. “You know! This!,” he boldly asserts.
“I promise you it was not me, it was someone else. How can I prove this to you?”
“You never can, you broke my trust.” He storms out without a second glance back, leaving you in a state of utter confusion, disbelief, and hurt.
This story is too familiar to Christians sharing their faith with others. Many of the lost, broken, and hurting people of our world lack the one thing that can bring them peace, joy, and ultimate fulfillment: Jesus Christ. However, many men and churches have failed them. Other ‘Christians’ bore your jacket and wronged these people. Now they blame you, regardless of the Truth. They twisted Psalm 118:8 and incorrectly blame God for the failure of man. They wish to take their hate, anger, and bitterness over the failure of men by forfeiting the possibility of a relationship with the one that wants them dearly and did not wrong them, God.
They are quick to mock the hypocrisy and sinful nature of the believer, while never realizing that this is the point of the Gospel. We all fall short of the glory of God; fallen and dead to our sins (Romans 3:23). They condemn the failed Christian with absolute certainty while, on the hand, state there is no absolute judgement. They view such wrongs as sinful, but lack the realization that they are pointing to a transcendent reality! A reality that hates sin and will absolutely punish accordingly (Romans 6:23). We are fallen, corrupted, for which even our good works are viewed as dirty tampons (Isaiah 64:6). We are completely depraved, evil to the core, all Auschwitz enabled (Deut 28:56-57, Milgram, Jones). However, that punishment is readily taken by Jesus, if we are willing accept that gift. There is no other way, no deeds worth enough to forgo the pending judgment. When we accept Jesus’ merciful act God will change you from the inside out (Mark 1:8, 1 Cor 3:16-17, Phil 1:6) molding you into the likeness of Christ. This is contrary to every other worldview, that depicts change stemming from our own human effort and trickling down from the top. God is responsible for that change, that is, if we let him!
Hence, Jesus has covered us, given us His jacket, and we now wear it. Let us wear it well.