Gold is one of the most valuable metals on Earth. Over the centuries, gold has been the currency of the world. Gold jewelry is highly valued. Electric contacts made of gold are very conductive.

Today the price of gold is $1,291.90 per ounce. Now, here’s some interesting math: The “average” gold mine yields 3 ounces of gold per 1 ton of ore. The price of three ounces of gold is $3,875.70. Therefore, one ton of ore is worth $3,875.70. Figuring 2,000 lb per ton and 14 Troy oz. per lb., gold ore is worth a whopping 14 cents an ounce. The lesson is that 1,999 pounds, 11 ounces of useless material has to be burned away to produce 3 ounces of gold.

All people coming to Christ are like that ton of ore. Paul says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” These people were seriously evil. “But,” he says, “such were some of you”. The saints in Corinth gave up their immoral practices. Why? “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Paul says of that old Saul of Tarsus was the worst of sinners to make the point that “If God can save me, he can save anyone, no matter how wicked he may be.” This idea shows that some people need a whole lot of refining to yield 3 ounces of gold.

Then, there are so-called good moral people. They aren’t murderers or thieves. They don’t lie or get drunk. The problem is that these people are just as lost as the worst sinners. Paul says that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23) These people may not need much smelting to return those 3 ounces of gold, but none the less, they need purifying.

The question is not “How much baggage are you carrying?” The real query is “Are you carrying any at all?” Jesus offers this invitation: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:26). Jesus wants people who are bearing a load of sin—whether “good” or “evil”— to come to Him and find rest. Along the way, Jesus expects His people to put off the weight of sin as they grow and mature. (Heb 12:1). The end result is “that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet 1:8)

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