Reading: Romans 4: 1-5 & 13-17
Paul’s writing today is all about inclusion. At the time of this writing, Paul was trying to show how universal God’s love is. Some were hung up on being circumcised and living under the Law as the requirements to be in God’s family. Paul states that it by faith alone that we receive the promise. It is through the promise that we are saved. His argument is based upon salvation by grace alone. Paul developed this line of thinking from the realization that no one can follow the Law enough or do enough good works to earn or deserve salvation. Paul knew that it was only by God’s grace that anyone can be saved. Paul personally experienced this in his own redemption story and it was his life’s work to bring in any and all into God’s family.
This is also our call as individuals and as churches. There are many people who feel as if they are outside of God’s love. Some feel they have done too much wrong or have too great a sin, some feel they are too broken, some feel they could never be good enough… The list is long, the barriers are many. To all of these people, Paul’s message is that no one is too anything to step into the love of God. All are loved by God. This is our message to carry forth as well. The doors of our hearts and the doors of all of our churches need to reflect this idea of universal inclusion. This means we see all as God sees them, as a child of God. Yes, they may be less than perfect. We all are. News flash. And yet God offers us all love and grace and forgiveness. Who are we to draw lines and put up barriers?
May we all have the courage to live out our faith. May we all be willing to see lost people simply as they are: just another broken child of God who needs to meet their Father. May each person that crosses our path or walks through the doors of our places of worship encounter the pure and universal love of God in us, opening the way for them to experience God’s love and grace and forgiveness. God is for all people. May we help it to be so today.