Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

-Lyrics from hymn—Just as I Am (Charlotte Elliott) 

We never come to Jesus with our shirt pressed and our shoes shined.  We are more like an unkept and destitute beggar when we finally call out to Jesus.  Very few of us ever come before we have tasted the pleasures of sin for a season.  It takes looking—and unsuccessfully—for salvation in things, power, money, and people we look up to before we are resigned to surrender. 

And when we do—the relief is unspeakable.

 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…   (1 Timothy 1:15a, ESV) 

If you ever attended a Billy Graham Crusade or have seen one on television—you have no doubt heard the hymn—Just as I Am.  For every television tele-evangelist phony, Billy Graham has served as proof year after year that men of God do exist and that not every popular preacher has to sell snake oil, have goofy hair, make pitiful appeals for cash, have a corny smile, worhip a positive attitude, or have a Jesus-less message.     

The former slave trader John Newton and mentor to William Wiberforce came to Jesus just as he was.  Newton was a terrible sinner and a man with unclean hands—a life defined by abuse and filth (you don’t have to trust me—he tells on himself in his own writings).  After a miraculous conversion, Newton went on to write the most widely sung hymn of all-time—Amazing Grace.  Newton lived to be eighty-two years old and mantained an active ministry until he was laid up by failing health the last two years of his life. 

Newton—unshaken in his faith before his death—told his friends:

My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things; That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.   

If John Newton could come as he was—there’s no sin too great and no person too bad to simply come, and come just as we are.  

Jesus hasn’t turned anyone away yet and he’s not looking to start.