This post was written on 05/17/06. I am recycling it because it recaps very well the theme I have been writing about for the past month about the nature of the gospel.
Just a quick thought for the day. What do white trash, hookers, and corporate fat cats all have in common? All of them are people that Jesus would rather hang out with than self righteous religious people. You don't believe me? Read the gospels and see what I'm talking about. Jesus was acccused of being a "glutton and a wine bibber " precisely because He preferred to hang out with the riff-raff of society rather than the religious establishment of His day. Here is another thought, the very fact that Jesus ate and drank with sinners signified that He accepted them just the way they were. If Jesus is any indication of the heart of the Father toward lost people (and He is), then perhaps the gospel that He introduced to the world is precisely this- God loves sinners! It is in opening our hearts to the unconditional love of Jesus Christ that we ourselves are saved and transformed into what we could never be on our own. The problem is that most of us are too proud of ourselves to recognize that we do, in fact, need this unconditional love. This is why Jesus said that tax collectors and harlots (aka crooked lawyers and prostitutes) would enter the kingdom of heaven faster than the pharisees (aka...dignified and proud churchgoers). Let's keep this in mind as we relate to the world around us. It is only when we receive the grace of Christ for ourselves that we can give the same grace away to others.