“I conclude that we shouldn’t create problems for Gentiles who turn to God.” – Acts 15:19
These are the words of Jesus’ brother, James. As the head of the Jerusalem church, he’s declaring what the church must always remember.
He was speaking to a faction within the church that wasn’t happy that non-Jews were saved by grace. Instead, they wanted them to become Jewish first, then they could be Christians.
In other words, change your lifestyle first, and then you are worthy of salvation.
Really? Jesus never put that condition on the sinner Zacchaeus when he invited himself over to his house for dinner. The tax collector experienced Jesus’ unconditional love, and his heart was changed. Jesus left it up to him to figure out whatever needed changing. As he said, “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost…” not micromanage them.
2020 has proven that we’re all “lost.” Things we thought were secure have become dislodged. We’re now concerned about life and death. Food, shelter, rent. National divisiveness, uncertainty, racism, violence. Things that belittle, dehumanize, exclude.
The world needs Christians more than ever to affirm that, simply, it’s time to show the Jesus type of love. We have to dispel the image that we have a cornerstone on conditional grace based on if we judge someone to be worthy of it.
The church isn’t the gatekeeper of grace. Rather, it’s the open door to it, judgment-free. The second the church returns to making those judgments, it becomes the bastion of self-righteous saints, and Jesus has to start reforming it all over again.
The church’s mission is to throw a party for those beaten down by 2020.
No questions asked, no problems created.