For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:17
When I accepted Jesus as my Savior at a crusade, a woman was “assigned” to meet with me. At that time, I was married to a very difficult man, and I told this woman I was afraid to stay in the marriage. “Divorce is not an option for Christians,” she said in a condescending tone. I wanted to believe everything this woman said to me. Thus, I spent nearly two decades before leaving a husband who was verbally, emotionally and financially abusive to me. I’ve wondered how my Christian walk might have flourished more quickly and easily had I left that marriage sooner. I was very glad to meet and marry my second husband, a strong and loving man and a faithful Christian.
Just a few years ago, my wonderful husband and I attended his nephew’s wedding to a girl of a different Protestant denomination. The groom had dutifully attended classes with a pastor from the bride’s church, and agreed to join her church so the wedding could take place there. When the pastor addressed the wedding guests, he made it clear that only those who belonged to that church would be allowed to take communion. That meant that the groom’s parents—my brother and sister-in-law—sat in silence while many the people, including my husband and I, paraded up to the altar and “fraudulently” partook of the Lord’s Supper right under this pastor’s nose. Our daughter is married to a wonderful man of the Hindu faith, and he whispered to us, “I double-dog dare you to go up there.” So we did.
Jesus came into this world to save the whole world, not just part of it. In Paul’s first letter to his protégé, Timothy, Paul urged him to make “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving…for all people—that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Paul’s message was clear that all people are included in the family of God. He continued, “There is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Now that’s not so scary!
Holy God, You said all people will see Your salvation (Isaiah 40:6). Let that be our clear message too. Amen