Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter for Everyone

What better day to continue to consider the inclusive heart of God than Easter. I'm sure many people have been confused by the modern argument that Christianity is an "exclusive" religion. This is a great misrepresentation of the true gospel. The word gospel means good news. How could it be good news if it were only true for some subset of people?

Our entire history hinges on Jesus' death on the cross and His victory over death on the first resurrection morning. Prior to His completion of the Father's work only a select subset of people, the Israelites -- those who had God's law, had the hope of salvation. After the cross and the empty grave, every person who believes in the name of Jesus can become a child of God (John 1:12). The inclusive nature can be seen in Jesus' ministry years in which His closest associates were primarily fishermen, and a tax collector. He reached out to outcasts: the blind, the lame, the lepers, the "sinners", and gentiles. He spent time with them, healed them, talked to them, and taught them that He would provide the way to God. In the end, by becoming the final sacrifice to appease God's justice and bestow God's mercy, Jesus opened the door for all of humankind to accept salvation by faith (Romans 5:18). In fact no one is excluded except by their own personal choice.

It reminds me of an old hymn by Ira F. Stanphill:

"Room at the Cross for You"

The cross upon which Jesus died
Is a shelter in which we can hide;
And its grace so free is sufficient for me,
And deep is its fountain as wide as the sea.

Tho' millions have found Him a friend
And have turned from the sins they have sinned,
The Savior still waits to open the gates
And welcome a sinner before it's too late.

There's room at the cross for you,
There's room at the cross for you;
Tho' millions have come,
There's still room for one --
Yes, there's room at the cross for you.

There is room at the cross for everyone if they will but come. This is the very heart of God.

Part one Inclusion
Part two Inclusion
Part four Inclusion
Part five Inclusion


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