The Inclusion, Acceptance, and Tolerance of the Cross of Christ
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
- John 3:18-21
There is eternal life and freedom from condemnation through trust in the Son of God; there is also condemnation for those who do not put their trust in his Son. This is not a popular message in our world today! The world longs for inclusion, acceptance, and tolerance of all things. Jesus came to include all people into his kingdom; salvation moved from the Jews to all the nations and all the peoples of this world. Anyone who would call upon the name of Jesus would be saved. All people were included in the invitation to live as children of God.
Jesus came to accept those who had been rejected. He welcomed the tax collectors and notorious sinners. He was known for even having dinner parties with such people. Contrary to the practices of his time, Jesus not only ministered to women, but he included them in his work of ministry. Mary and Martha were among his closest friends. Jesus welcomed the outcast of society; he touched and healed the lepers who were considered unclean. Jesus accepted all people who came to him.
Jesus tolerated sin, ignorance, and even the constant objections and accusations of his enemies. Jesus tolerated the onslaught of needs that were brought before him, the doubt of even his closest friends, and the humiliation of the cross.
The life of Jesus modelled inclusion, acceptance, and tolerance. However, Jesus was very clear that there was only one way to the Father and that was through him. Without faith in Jesus Christ, no one will be included in the kingdom of God; there will be no acceptance by the Father, as a holy God cannot tolerate sin. Jesus came to shine light into the darkness. The children of God will come to the light, walk in the light, and live in that light. Those who reject the Son of God choose to remain in darkness. They are the ones who are unwilling to acknowledge their sin and to receive the salvation offered through the cross of Jesus Christ.
The cross is the perfect invitation to be included, accepted, and even tolerated. However, the apostle John makes it very clear that to get to the Father, one must embrace the cross of Christ. That cross frees one from the condemnation of sin. That cross is the means to forgiveness and restoration. To reject the cross of Christ is to welcome condemnation for sin.
Light or darkness, forgiveness or condemnation, eternal life with the Father or eternal life with the devil – which will you choose to live into today? Reflection:
Are you living in the light of the cross?