SINNER AND SAINT
One of my greatest encouragers was Grandpa Russell. I probably shared more stories back and forth with him than I did with any other human being.
At 84 years old, Grandpa Russell traveled with Dad and me to the Brickyard for Carburetion Day. While he was entering Dad’s motor-coach, Russell was really proud.
“Mitchell, I just want you to know that I just finished planning my funeral arrangements yesterday, and I ordered a beautiful copper casket,” Russell said.
“I know,” I replied. “Your attorney, Uncle Derald, called me.” I was joking, setting the stage for him to walk into my funny moment. You see, Russell had suffered from a stroke a few years earlier. This had led to his short-term memory loss. I would always kid him about the benefits that he seemed to leverage from not recalling the past.
“He did?” Russell asked.
“He said you wanted me to use the word saint about you at your funeral,” I answered.
“I did?” Russell replied. “I want you to use the word saint at my funeral?”
“Yeah, don’t worry I already know how I’m going to use it,” I said to Russell as I looked over at Dad. “I’m going to say, ‘Russell appreciated the beauty of a woman; he told many racy stories, but compared to his son, Dean, he was a saint.'” I loved hearing Russell burst out laughing, especially if it was at Dad’s expense.
Many of us think that God grades on the curve, thinking if we can be less sinful than someone else, maybe He will let us in to His kingdom. That’s not the case.
God is perfect and holy. Our sin has created a gap (Isaiah 59:2), but God has filled it with the perfect life, death, and resurrection of His Son. All we need to do is surrender to Him by grace through faith.
The Apostle Paul wrote: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Surrender your sin to the One who paid its penalty and become a saint, one who receives the gift of eternal life and is used by God to bring that gift to others.