But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” [Acts 15:11]
In the early years of the church, they were struggling with how to deal with Gentile converts. There were many disagreements among the Jews on what the Gentiles needed to do to be saved. For them, faith wasn’t enough but you needed to be circumcised as well. So finally, the elders in Jerusalem were discussing this when Peter chimed in (he was the one called by God to preach to Cornelius, a Gentile, in Acts 10. There, Peter realized that salvation is for all people through faith).
So why make distinctions?
Why place requirements on some for salvation?
Why place a greater burden on some to enjoy the gifts of God?
I believe the simple answer was, and still is in some cases, that many in the church want to maintain a sense of power and control. And maybe even to help maintain appearances. You can’t have just any person off the street in here. If so, then live like we live and dress like we dress.
What a shame that some believe this. But Jesus says:
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
(Luke 15:7 ESV)
Salvation is through faith alone in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ; that through his death and resurrection you have forgiveness of sins and thus will live forever. And therefore the church needs to be a place for messed up sinners, not a museum for saints. And in case you haven’t figured it out, YOU are a messed up sinner.
Jesus didn’t make distinctions and neither should we. Celebrate and give thanks that you are saved through faith ALONE and that you are welcomed even though you are still a messed up sinner.
What an awesome God we have. Praise be to God through our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
The Pastor -|—