For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)
As Jesus continues to preach, teach, and perform miracles, we get a clear contrast between two distinct kinds of people: the sinful and wicked who are drawing close to Jesus so they can hear Him, and the religious people who criticize Jesus for fellowshipping with them. In response, Jesus tells 3 parables about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. The message of these parables is bright as day: God is more interested in reaching the lost than He is in celebrating the self-righteous. Jesus makes it abundantly clear that He is here for the enemies of God, the sinful, the rebels, because they’re the ones that need Him the most.
Scripture makes God’s heart for the poor very apparent. Paul says it best when he says “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15) So who’re the poor, then? According to the Bible, we all are. All humanity is spiritually bankrupt before God; we all have an immeasurable sin debt; we’re all poor. (Romans 3:23) But God is so rich in love and mercy that He became flesh and blood (Jesus), and came into our fallen world so He could seek and save us in our blindness and opposition! By His suffering and death on the cross, the Messiah has once and for all purchased salvation and redemption on our behalf, available to those who receive it by faith. But the Lord Jesus is still searching for the poor in spirit, still calling people to Him in their sin and shame, drawing them to see His glory through the Gospel.
There’s this notion invading the contemporary Church that all people are God’s children who are deserving of love and grace. This is a very dangerous thing for us to say and teach each other, because as lovely as it sounds, it’s not true. The truth is actually much better: we are all God’s beloved creations who have sinned and become His enemies, yet in His love for us He sent His only Son to redeem us and adopt us into His family. See the difference? When we start talking as though everyone’s okay and a part of God’s family, it undermines God’s supernatural love for us and downplays the truth of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us in His death and resurrection; it rids the Gospel of its power.
- Friends, Jesus Christ is the risen King of Creation who searches for and saves those enslaved to Satan, as we once were. That’s our motivation to love and serve others: not because they’re children of God, deserving of love, but because they’re outsiders and enemies whom Jesus is calling to be a part of His family, children of the Father. We should be set free and compelled by this truth, the truth of the Gospel, to live our lives in the radical, sacrificial, supernatural love of God towards our neighbors (including our LGBTQ+, Muslim, atheist, etc. ones). The Lord Jesus is coming to them, through us, to seek and save them. He’s still going after them, as He went us.
If you remain in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:31-32)