The Bold Message of the Gospel Day 4 – The Inclusion of the Gospel
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28, ESV)
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7, ESV)
The bus pulled away from the school with a whole load of happy, excited children. I wasn’t one of them. These kids sold enough in the fall school fundraiser to have a whole day of fun, food, games and prizes. That was great for them—but not so good for the rest of us who didn’t qualify because our parents lacked the desire or ability to sell an exorbitant amount of cookie dough. I say “parents” because doesn’t it really come down to that with school fundraisers? And do so many people really enjoy those plastic tubs of mediocre tasting cookie dough? The point is that the bar was set at a level that excluded many of us. It was disappointing for us as we watched the bus pull away and we headed back in to study Magellan or Plato or whoever was our topic of discussion for the day.
So many things in life are exclusive—only for a select few, the VIPs and Platinum Elite members, country club members and red-carpet walkers, presidents and CEOs. Thank God the gospel isn’t that way. The gospel is inclusive because it’s a message for everyone. It doesn’t matter what gender or race you are, what your finances look like, or what religion you grew up under. Past sins won’t disqualify you no matter how bad they are. You can be an addict, behind prison bars, or selling your body to make ends meet. You may be a murderer, a thief, or a polygamist. The gospel doesn’t exclude you for any of that. The gospel will only change you for the better.
The Jews in the early church struggled with this concept. In fact, it was a point of contention for them, evidenced by how they viewed and treated the Gentiles who came to a saving knowledge of faith in Christ. They believed God was their God and not available to anyone who wasn’t Jewish. God specifically gave Paul the commission to take the gospel to the Gentiles, opening it to them as a people. The Old Testament Law and its requirements were fulfilled in Christ, and because of this there was a new message of grace that included everyone, which was one reason the Jews balked at its bold claim. How could this message replace what they had followed since Moses received the Law from the hands of God? Yet Jesus Himself stated that He came to fulfill the Law, and everyone was included in these words: “Come to Me.”
Aren’t you thankful this gospel is for all of us? None are excluded from God’s salvation. Yet, most will turn it down. Most won’t recognize their need, and most refuse to accept the Word of God as truth. As a result, the majority of the world is simply lost and without hope. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to take the same message over and over again to all who will hear it. We cannot control the outcome of our sharing this message—only God can do that. But we can be faithful in proclaiming it, assuring each person we share it with that they are included in the invitation to come to Christ.
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3:11, ESV)