"For it is by grace that we are saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast," Ephesians 2:8-9.
Ted Bundy may well be in heaven and Mother Theresa and Gandhi are probably in Hell. That, my friends, is a difficult truth to fathom. Ted Bundy was a serial killer who murdered more than twenty women after falling deeper and deeper into the depths of pornography. He was an evil man who got true justice at the hands of the state of Florida. They put him to death for his evil. Yet, it is claimed that he repented of his sins and trusted in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. If this is true, and he truly repented, he is in heaven. Mother Teresa and Gandhi are two of the best known modern day heroes for peace and justice. They helped lepers, fought against injustice and have had legions of books written about them. They did not ever embrace, as far as we know, the Biblical gospel however and that path leads directly to Hell. This, my friends, is a scandal! How can this be?
All of us, scripture assures us, have sinned against a holy God. We are dead, dead, dead, in our sin. None of us can go before God and say, "Hey God, look at what I did! Aren't I wonderful Lord. I did this, that and the other thing. You must be impressed with how wonderful I am and what I did." This is the religion of every man on earth who has not embraced the gospel. It is the faith of Muhammad, Maharishi Yogi, witches, pagans and even atheists. It is the religion of the Roman Catholic Church and of Gandhi. It is not the gospel and it defames our Savior.
The other day I was listening to a show that proclaimed that Ted Bundy may have trusted in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and it struck me as the most scandalous thing ever as I thought more and more about it. How ridiculous it sounds to say that Ted Bundy is in heaven while scores of "good" people every day die in their sins without Christ and are condemned. How can God save a man like Ted Bundy! This is unjust and wicked. No one knows for sure whether Mr. Bundy did repent and is in heaven but just the thought is repulsive to the fleshly mind. How can I serve a God like this who petulantly sends "good" people to Hell and lets scum like Bundy into His paradise? This is unjust, uncalled for and unprecedented!
Well, no it is not. "As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house and haling men and women committed them to prison," Acts 8:3. Saul was a zealous, evil man who scattered the church and then hunted people down. He was a major instrument in the martyr of Stephen and we have no reason to believe that he was not responsible for other peoples martyrdom. He did not deserve to be saved and was evil on a par with Muhammad and Ted Bundy. He was a despicable man. But he was knocked off his donkey en route to Damascus and Jesus Christ, the crucified one, appeared to Saul and chose him to bring the gospel to the gentiles. Paul was then born out of the remnants of Saul and he was used of God to bring the gospel farther than any other apostle. Even more, he lamented his sinfulness and considered himself to be "the chief of sinners." He did not consider himself worthy of Christ's riches and he partook deeply of Christ's amazing grace as well as enduring torture and persecution and bearing the marks of Christ in his body. Paul did not deserve God's love. He was an evil man.
Friends, God is unjust and for that, we must say Hallelujah! God is unjust and His grace is ridiculous, unmerited, shocking and just plain...scandalous. We all deserve Hell, we have all sinned against God and spit in the face of Jesus Christ and on His sacrificial crucifiction for our sins and debt. We deserve His wrath every bit as much as Ted Bundy. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us," Romans 5:8. Romans 3 paints a truthful, painful and bleak picture of our hearts and confronts us with the reality of our depravity. We are Ted Bundy, we are evil. Mother Teresa and Gandhi were Ted Bundy too, unless they surrendered their hearts to Christ and repented of their evil. Friends, we must always remember how evil we are apart from the love of Christ. We must never assume anyone is righteous, let alone ourselves. But we know One who is righteous and who unloads all His love on us if we respond to His generous, undeserved offer of salvation. This should comfort our lives to no end and lead us to learn, live and love the glorious gospel of our awesome Savior.