Acceptance, Not Condemnation

“You don’t see a zeus-like God with a lighting bolt in His hand waiting for you guys to mess up so He can blow you up. That’s not what we see. That is NOT the message of Christianity.”

Great words from Matt Chandler of The Village Church in his sermon series’ entitled “The Apostles’ Creed.” The series hits at the core of what statements like the Apostles’ creed repeated in churches truly mean. I remember saying it in my church as a young’un, but never came to grasp the power of it all until much later as an adult.

In one of the sermons, Chandler paints a great picture of what separates Christianity from other religions. Too often, we Christians get a bad wrap as a result of the evangelicals going out there scaring people half to death. He goes on to make a point of how John 3:16 is awesome, but it’s John 3:17 that says that Christ has not come into the world to condemn it, but rather to save the world from condemnation…

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Christianity alone is an incarnational religion. Why? Because Christ put on flesh and dwelt among us. So now we enter the fray of this broken world. We pour out the glory of God through our time, our money, our homes, our resources, whatever it is, because it was originally poured out into Jesus. We are engaged with open-handed gladness to push back the darkness in the world. It is what defines us.

Chandler also goes on to say it’s why so many hospital names are Presbyterian, or Baptist or Saint such and such. It is incarnate. We do not build walls to keep the sinners out, we let them in and embrace them as brothers and sisters of our own.

“Christianity is not defined by its ivory-towered cleanliness but rather by its broken-hearted, dirty handedness. We grieve at the brokenness of the world, but we don’t grieve at the brokenness of the world behind high walls with machine-gun turrets just to make sure none of it touches my family. We get in the muck and the mire and weep with people and we open up our homes and take dumb risks for the glory of God. And this defines the community of God. We are incarnational. We are a missional people.”

So keep this in mind as you go out into the world, an ambassador of your Savior this week. We are really no better than those who may have failed in seeking Him out. Let us sit with those and relate in their struggles, to encourage and open ourselves up to them. You may be surprised at just how similar we all are in our spiritual journeys regardless of where we all are at in our day to day lives.

Good luck and godspeed.