Day 17

Salvation Is for Everyone

from the Acts of the Apostles reading plan


Acts 11:1-30, 1 Peter 4:16-19, Romans 15:25-28

This year, the world will be watching the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. My family and friends will be watching in America, and of course we’ll be rooting for the Americans. And why wouldn’t we? They’re a part of us. They represent us. As the games unfold, we’ll get to know their stories and we’ll track their accomplishments. We’ll hope to be near the top of the medal count leaderboard, and we’ll take pride in our athletics.

The United States has won 2,401 Olympic medals. With a population of 313 million, that translates into one medal for every 130,000 people. That medal per population number puts the US 37th on the list! Did you think that rank would be higher? We’re winning a lot of medals, but we have a ton of people to choose from; so our numbers are high, and our efficiency is actually pretty low.

Topping the charts is Finland at number one. They’ve won 302 medals with a population of 5.4 million for an index number of one medal for every 18,000 people. Then comes Sweden, Hungary, Denmark and the Bahamas (only 11 medals but only a population of 353,000 people, so that’s one medal for every 32,000 people). It will take the US winning a lot of medals to gain ground on Finland, but I’ll still root for that to happen.

Is it right that we root for our own country? Every person competing in the Olympics has a story, regardless of the flag they represent. Each person has to fight some battle to get to this point. Our athletes are not automatically better—better people with better stories.

Still, we all have a bias toward some people over other people. Rooting for what we know makes sense to us. And though we don’t often see it this bias, we inherit it. We sustain it. We buy into it. We promote it.

These inherent biases are at the forefront of what was happening in Acts 11. In Peter’s world, there was a dividing line between Jews and Gentiles. The two groups were separate. But when salvation came to Cornelius’s house, and when he, a Gentile, received the Holy Spirit, it broke through a cultural barrier that had stood in many people’s minds for centuries. The barrier was the idea that the God of Israel belonged to the people of Israel. Even Peter himself needed some convincing of the reach of the gospel (Acts 11:8-9).

Cornelius’s salvation was not only cause for God’s people to open their minds to the idea that the gospel could reach beyond what they imagined, but it was also cause to celebrate. Jews were not just called to accept the conversion of Gentiles, but to root for it.

Having biases is natural, but God calls us to what is supernatural. He calls us to a different way. He calls us not to see everyone as the same and without any distinction, but to love people as they are—in, with, and through the love of Christ. He calls us to see ourselves as people in need of the grace and mercy and Christ, and to extend that same mercy and grace to everyone.

We may all nod our heads to that, but Acts 11 pushes us to do something about it. It shows us that life in the good news of the gospel is not business as usual. The gospel transforms us.

What might this look like? We might root for someone else besides those in our own tribe. Or appreciate what others contribute. The gospel calls us to set aside our own rights, privileges, and prejudices for something even better—God’s glory in His church.

Let’s look for ways to do that.

Written By Doug Serven

 

Post Comments (22)

22 thoughts on "Salvation Is for Everyone"

  1. Craig Torgerson says:

    Man has a ton of biases that we need to overcome so we can see people the way God sees people. We need to trust God’s direction because His way is pure. It is inevitable that man’s ways will be tainted by our natural, and experiential, biases and comforts.

  2. Craig Torgerson says:

    God can open doors to share the Gospel that I can’t even imagine to be opened. The Gospel can break down barriers. It has the ability to unite every person regardless of culture, nationality, political stance, socioeconomic status, etc.

  3. Craig Torgerson says:

    Jesus sacrifice on the cross is sufficient to cleanse everyone; even those whom I would think are “unclean” or “common”. God wants the message of the Gospel and how much He loves us to get to each and every person. God is faithful.

  4. Craig Torgerson says:

    I will persevere in doing good and trust that God is faithful and will care for my soul.

  5. Craig Torgerson says:

    God, please give me peace that you are faithful and have a plan that is greater than I can imagine. I know you will open doors for me to share the Gospel. Thank you that the cross is greater than my fears and that it can bring unity in the midst of the greatest biases and differences that might exist.

  6. Connor Back says:

    God holds no bias or prejudice when it comes to His love, he loves and wishes for all of His creation to come to Him.

  7. Connor Back says:

    The gospel transforms us, so that we can set aside our differences for something better.

  8. Connor Back says:

    Humans buy in to their biases, but we should set aside those biases and reach out to those in need. As we are shown grace and mercy, so should we show others grace and mercy.

  9. Connor Back says:

    I will respond by being more graceful to others, and trying to catch myself being self righteous, because I have sinned and am shown mercy, so should I show everyone else mercy and grace.

  10. Connor Back says:

    Lord, thank you for this message. Help me to be more graceful to those around me, even though I may disagree with them. Help me to be patient and kind to those who disagree with me. Help me to be a light to those around me, that they may see You in me. Help me to be strong for you and make the right decisions for you in this day, in your name I pray, amen.

  11. Jake Wilson says:

    To become a child of God, extends family the concept of family, neighbor, and community to everyone.

  12. Adam Peterson says:

    God has mastered “the overview effect”. The Overview Effect is what astronauts describe as the peacefully float 250 miles above earth. From this height they don’t see borders and disputes. They see the beauty of the oceans, the atmosphere, and the land. They say it is a transformative spiritual experience. In short, they see that the gospel is for everyone.

  13. Isaac Jones says:

    God is now not Nationalistic toward people groups. God’s nationalism is His kingdom or the kingdom of worldliness.

  14. Isaac Jones says:

    Man makes many kingdoms for themselves may they be nations, ethnicity, culture style, speech/accents, or even which church they belong to.

  15. Isaac Jones says:

    The gospel is for everyone who will submit to it and to the faith that leads to obedience.

  16. Isaac Jones says:

    I will respond by accepting others despite how they may be “weird to me”. Also, to pray for the nations, and not just America

  17. Isaac Jones says:

    Heavenly Father,

    Thank you for saving a gentile like me. I am not worthy of your gospel by any measurement, yet you saved me. Thank you for your grace and acceptance in my life; help me to show grace and acceptance to others. May I declare what it means to be one of your children to all who do not know you. Thank you for your power and majesty to reach into the hearts and souls of people, Lord. You make all things possible, and in you we worship; Amen.

  18. Brien Johnson says:

    Gospel is for all people not just one people group.

  19. Brien Johnson says:

    God is the creator of all people and he loves and cares for all people.
    When he looks at the diversity of the world he sees his children.

  20. Brien Johnson says:

    All people are made in the image and what is God and are in need of Jesus to save them and restore them into fellowship with God.

  21. Brien Johnson says:

    May I see people who are different than me as God sees them. May I share freely with others and love others just as Christ has loved me.

  22. Brien Johnson says:

    Father help me to love the world the way you do. Help me to share your good news and show genuine, authentic Christian love to everyone no matter who they are.

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