You only call for a doctor when you accept that you need one. There are people who do not like to see a doctor or call for medical help thinking that their sickness would go away after some days. There are also people who don’t call for the doctor because they think they are not really sick. There are the ones too who are simply afraid of the idea of going for check up even when they feel that something is wrong with their body. Regardless of the reason, one common factor stands out — they do not believe they are sick enough to be helped by a doctor. It is not the absence or lack of doctors that cause the problem but the inability to admit and to accept that they need help.
We treat our spiritual life much the same way as we do with our physical condition. We don’t go to the Physician unless we start realizing, accepting, and admitting that something is wrong with us and that we need fixing which we can’t do on our own. Oftentimes, we do not call on God to fix us because we do not see the truth that we need fixing. We do not call on God to heal us because we do not see the need to be healed from our sins. We refuse to go to God to change us and make us new because we could not accept the fact that we are sinners.
God tells us in the Bible that we are all sinners and because of sin we need Him. He is the only way to life, to redemption, to restoration, and healing. The cure to sin is Jesus. He is the Great Physician.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”– 1 John 1:8-9 (WEB)
“But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”– Romans 5:8 (WEB)
None of us is too good for others. The Pharisees questioned Jesus why he sat down with the tax collectors and sinners.
“When the Pharisees saw it, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’”– Matthew 9:11 (WEB)
Tax collectors who were Jews were hated by their fellow Jews because they serve the Roman empire at the expense of their own countrymen. They were equated as robbers because they kept a portion of the collected tax for themselves while the Jews had to pay for many taxes in the land. This is why the Pharisees, who see themselves as righteous and not sinners in any way, raised an eyebrow when Jesus sat and talked with “tax collectors and sinners”. But this is how Jesus responded to their evil thoughts.
“When Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. But you go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, and not sacrifice’, for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”– Matthew 9:12-13 (WEB)
Self-righteousness puts down people. It exalts the self and causes division. It thinks that it is not good to associate with people who are not righteous. It sees others as sinners and sees the self as clean. Self-righteousness draws us away from God because we could not see that we need God.
God came for the sinners. Righteous people do not need God because they don’t think they need God. They think they are good and sufficient because they are “not like the others”. But the Bible tells us that none of us is better than the other. None of us is righteous.
“Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and doesn’t sin.”– Ecclesiastes 7:20 (WEB)
“For we have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteousness is like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”– Isaiah 64:6 (WEB)
We cannot look at others when we talk of righteousness. We cannot even look within us. We do not have that right. We look to God when we desire and seek righteousness.
The church is for sinners. The church is a body of believers in Christ who were sinners but who are now living anew not by their own righteousness but by the righteousness of Jesus whose mercy brought them to light.
As believers, we should also be able to afford the same mercy to others because we were once like them. The mercy we received from God should be seen and extended to others who are not yet living in the light of God because we know we are not different from them. They need God as much as we need God. They need the Great Physician like how we need Him day to day.