The gospel is for those who have been crushed by the weight of legalism. For those who have tried and tried to earn the favor of God by relentless church attendance, diligent Bible studies, unbroken prayer, and tithing.
The gospel is for those who have been content to warm themselves by the fire of God’s love but never had the faith (or nerve) to actually step into the fire and be utterly consumed.
The gospel is for those who think “Jesus Loves Me” is elementary. Perhaps you've “graduated on” to more robust theological, philosophical, sociological, psychological, and anthropological endeavors. You may have been to seminary. Yes, my friend, this is for you too.
You see, the only way into Jesus’ choir is to sing off-key.
The gospel is for those who get baptized or “go forward” every two or three years in order to secure their salvation because, obviously, it didn’t “take” the last time.
The gospel is for those who leave their Bible in the back of their car all week long, closed up in the sun.
The gospel is for those who think they’ve gone too far and committed the “unpardonable sin,” whatever that may be. The guilt-ridden and the shamed who think they’ve tapped out all of God’s grace and find it amazing that he let them get this far.
The gospel is for the promiscuous, the vagabond, the throwaway, the not good enough, the overachiever, the proud, the insolent, the angry, the forgotten, the brokenhearted.
The gospel is also for those who find themselves safe in the arms of Abba and walking closely with Christ, loving his Word, empowered by the Spirit, and obeying his commands.
The gospel is for the busy professor, student, stay-at-home mom, or the workaholic. The gospel is for the tired preacher and even more tired preacher’s kid. It is for the cage fighters, gamers, and athletes. It is for the Christian who knows Jesus as Lord, King, and Christ but hasn’t dared to accept his brotherhood or enter into embracing his most endearing term for us: the beloved of God. It is for those who have become too familiar with God and have lost any sort of reverence before him. It is for those who call God Creator but not Abba. Maybe you’re like me, and that word either keeps you guessing or makes you blush.
It is for those who have relegated and confined God to the outskirts of your mind and have opted to converse with him when convenient, on holidays, or the unexpected tragedy strikes.
The gospel is for black people, white people, brown people, yellow, red, purple (Tovah, my daughter, wishes everyone was purple), or any other people, all of whom are made in God’s image. It is for the rich. It is for the poor. It is for the middle class. It is for men and women. It is for homosexuals. It is for heterosexuals. It is for the friendless, the divorced, and the the addict. It is for the cheater, the drunk, the high. It is for the drug-dealer, for the image-obsessed. This is even for those who might’ve already fallen asleep in church this morning.
You see, the only way into Jesus’ choir is to sing off-key. The only way into God’s family is to own the fact that you don’t deserve to be in it. The only way to abide in the presence of the Holy Spirit is to accept that you are accepted.
Adapted from The Reckless Love of God: Experiencing the Personal, Passionate Heart of the Gospel, pp.15-17.
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