The Gospel for Sinners

The Gospel for Sinners

Extreme Devotion.

September 21: Extreme Thief — Part One RUSSIA: NIKOLAI KHAMARA 

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Nikolai Khamara was arrested for robbery and imprisoned for ten years. Khamara watched the Christians and wondered what kind of beings they were. They were men, but they would show joy despite their suffering and would sing in very dark hours. When they had a piece of bread, they shared it with someone who had none. Their faces would shine as they spoke to someone whom Khamara could not see.

One day two Christians sat down with Khamara and asked him about his story. Khamara told them his sad tale and finished by saying, “I am a lost man.” One of the Christians, with a smile, asked Khamara, “If somebody loses a gold ring, what is the value of that gold ring when it is lost?” “What a foolish question! A gold ring is a gold ring. You have lost it, but somebody else will have it.” “A very good answer,” said the Christian. “Now tell me, what is the value of a lost man? A lost man, even a thief, an adulterer, or a murderer, has the whole value of a man. He is of such value that the Son of God forsook heaven for him and died on the cross to save him.” The Christian said to the robber, “You may have been lost, but God’s love can find you.” Hearing this, Khamara gave his life to Christ.

How is value measured? Usually by a person’s investment of time, money, or emotion. That is, how a person treats a possession, an activity, or even a relationship reveals how much it is valued by that person. Consider, for example, the difference in the treatment of old work clothes and a new suit. Or the contrast between the care for a paper cup and a crystal goblet. And when a valued possession is lost or a loved one injured, oh the tears that are shed. So, how valued are people . . . are you? As the Christian told Khamara, so valuable that Jesus left heaven and died on a cross for his lost and rebellious creatures. God loves them that much. You are loved; you are valuable. Rejoice and spread this Good News to the other “loved ones” near you.

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