Have you ever noticed that even “pure” gold… 24kt gold, is actually not “pure”? As you see in the picture here, even “pure” gold is actually only 99.99% gold. Even with all the refinement, there is still the smallest amount of impurities left behind. Now gold is actually soft and modifiable so the closer it is to purity, the more the jewelry artist can shape it. Gold with many impurities must first go through fire so the impurities can be brought out of the metal. As it gets closer to purity, the artist can shape it better and better.
We are very much like gold. Not just in the fact that we need refinement… not only that as we get more refined, we can be better shaped by the master… but also in the fact that we will never (this side of eternity) reach the 100% mark. We as humans have a habit of trying to weigh one impurity against another, as if some impurities are acceptable and others are not. But the truth is, any slight impurity, no matter the amount, even .0001% impurity, is enough to keep us from God. It’s like we are on one side of a vast and deep lake and He is on the other. If one person has 90% impurities, they can only make it 10% across the lake… they will drown. Likewise, the person with .0001% impurity is still only able to swim across 99.9999%…. they’re still gonna drown. Remember that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23)
Now when the person becomes aware they are not going to make it across the lake, if they are only 10% or have made it to 99%, if they turn to ask Christ to finish the swim, He does. There is no distance too great or too small for Him to close for you. Yet throughout the gospels and throughout our lives today, people are constantly judging their ‘gap’ to another’s ‘gap’. In the gospels, it is often the Pharisees who draw this comparison, but this sin of self righteousness is not left only to them.
One such story is when Jesus came to town and Zacchaeus wanted to see Him. The Pharisees saw Zacchaeus as a 10% person and themselves as 99.9% people. They were shocked when Jesus decided to dine with him. “And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.””
The difference that Jesus points out is that Zacchaeus (while only 10% across the lake) sought Jesus to help him close the gap. And Jesus responded. “And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”” (Luke 19:9-10) But at the same time, the Pharisees (being 99% across the lake in this example) saw no reason to call out to Jesus. As a result, they would eventually drown.
Where you are in the lake does not matter. The amount if impurity left in you is irrelevant. All that matters is that you recognize you cannot cross the lake on your own and call out to Him. At any point in the lake, call to Him, because “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9)
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