“Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” Luke 15:1-2 KJV
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8 ESV
If there are any words ever spoken that God deserves to say to this world, it is these four words. Stay away from me. A perfectly holy, righteous, sovereign God who cannot be in the presence of sin. A perfectly unholy, unrighteous, not sovereign, broken, ungodly, wicked humanity who has no right to be in God’s presence either on this earth or forever in heaven, who deserves nothing more nor less than to die and suffer forever apart from God in hell and the lake of fire. A perfectly loving, perfectly merciful, perfectly grace-giving God who so loves and cares for us and so desires for us to be in fellowship with Him now and forever in heaven that He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to the cross to die in our place to take God’s wrath, judgment, condemnation, punishment, curse, separation from God, death, hell, and the lake of fire on His own self to be the perfect atonement for us and our sins so that all of us who will repent and turn from a lifestyle of sin and believe in Christ as Lord of all and commit to live for God and by His ways led by His Spirit will be forgiven, enter into a forever relationship with God, and be promised eternal life. The Lord of all, Creator of the universe, nothing and nobody more beautiful, magnificent, glorious, and holy in the world and heavens, instead of telling us to stay away from Him, tells us this. DRAW NEAR to Him. Why? So He can draw near to us. For He desires nothing more nor less for us than to be in loving relationship with Him as Lord forever and ever. When we deserve to be cursed forever, to die and rot in hell and burn in the lake of fire, God says, DRAW NEAR.
The Pharisees judged the sinners for drawing near to God, you know, as though the sinners had no right to draw near to God. NONE of us has a right to draw near to God because of our wickedness. But we all have a need. Every single one of us is a sinner in need of Christ for He is the only way to God and God’s love and forgiveness and promise of eternity. The Pharisees in their pride refused to acknowledge their sin and need for God’s forgiveness and an intimate relationship with Him, while the sinners in their humility drew near to Christ in their need. We don’t have a right because of our sin but we have an invitation to draw near to God through Christ because of His invitation.
How much longer will you stand at a distance from Christ? The torment and fire of hell and the lake of fire await us all. One day it will be too late for us to repent and draw near to Christ. Draw near, oh, draw near!