We have a strong religious tendency to get things backwards. We have a strong religious tendency to keep things exclusive. We have a strong religious tendency to want to climb up on the high platform of grace, and then to kick the ladder away, so that the riff raff cannot follow us up. This tendency is a wicked tendency, and it must be mortified.
On one occasion caused a Pharisee to marvel because He had not washed before dinner (Luke 11:38). The Lord interpreted this as a particular method for kicking the ladder away. He said that the Pharisees would load men up with impossible burdens, and would somehow magically exempt themselves (Luke 11:46). He said that the lawyers had taken away the key of knowledge, had not entered themselves, and had tried to hinder those who wanted to enter (Luke 11:52). This is right out of Aesop. It is dog in the manger religiosity.
God’s standards are high indeed—but they are not just higher than the standards of the mob, the dregs, the rabble. God’s standards are higher than the standards of the fussers and ladder kickers. All of us must die; that is the way the rsvp for the invitation is registered. We die, which means that we intend to come. And quickened by the power of the Spirit, we do in fact come. We are here now, gathered as forgiven sinners all. You name it, God forgives it. He forgives theft, hatred, fornication, and smug pharisaism.
Come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.