[forthright] The Savior of the Undesirables

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 03:45:55 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

Richard Mansel invites you to come visit 
his new, "Moving Word" blog. 
http://richardmansel.com/


COLUMN: LIVING THE FAITH

The Savior of the Undesirables
 by Richard Mansel, managing editor

I once preached for a congregation with a shameful
past. In previous years, one of the men would stand in
the door and not allow anyone of a different skin color
to enter.

Decades later, I was blessed to not only welcome an
undesirable, but to baptize him into Christ.
Thankfully, Christ welcomes those man's bigotry
rejects.

"For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks
at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the
heart" (1 Samuel 16:7, NKJV).

Man divides while God unites. God loves, while man
hates and rejects.

Even in the Lord's church, we find brethren who build
walls that they have no right to build. Even Peter, who
should have known better than anyone, built racial
walls by looking down on the Gentile Christians
(Galatians 2:11-21).

Peter had heard specifically from God that he should
see all men as equal, yet his sinful nature shone
through (Acts 10:9-16,34). We must stand above the
evils of men.

In Mark 2:14-17, Jesus calls Matthew to be a disciple
and dines in his house with Matthew's tax collector
friends. The Pharisees, of course, are there to mock
him for eating with sinners.

"When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are
well have no need of a physician, but those who are
sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but
sinners, to repentance" (Mark 2:17).

The Pharisees saw those at the table as scum and wanted
nothing to do with them. If the Lord thought as man
did, would he allow any of us to be in the Church?
Would our skin color, looks, financial status or
nationality meet the criterion of the narrow-minded?

Jesus, however, is the Savior of the undesirables. He
welcomes those whom man sees as worthless. Those we
tolerate, Jesus embraces. The Lord knows that all men
are made in his image and posses inherent value 
(Genesis 1:27).

The Gospel call is blind to prejudice. It rings through
all nations and hearts (Matthew 28:18-20). His plea is
for all who will come (Matthew 11:28-30). Accordingly,
we must carry the message to all men and accept them
with open arms into the family (Acts 2:37-47; Ephesians
2:19).

If we wish to be pleasing to God, we have no other
choice. We must allow Christ's blood to warm our frozen
hearts before it is too late (1 John 1:7).

----
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