Jesus did not come to condemn the world because of sin nor ignore it in the name of relationship or what the world sees as acceptance, tolerance or love. He did not come as a good (or even great) man in history with a model for living that we should try to aspire to in our lives in the name of social justice. He is not one among many good people with messages of love, acceptance, and tolerance, but first among all, primary and singular. He stands apart. He did not come to make us feel better about who we think we are or endorse our ideas about what identity, life, and love should look like, no matter how deeply we feel them or how radically the world celebrates them. He is God, who came to earth as a man to walk among us, empathize with us, and love us. Save us from sin and restore us to life in Him.
Jesus came with the gift of salvation for all who would receive it: redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. That gift gives us freedom from death, hell, sin, and its separating power from God and each other. It brings us back to long walks in the cool of the day with our Father. It allows us to enjoy the blessings, benefits, and responsibilities of walking as sons and ambassadors in the Kingdom.
Receiving the gift of salvation requires a choice: to lay down your old way of thinking, living and loving, and putting on Christ. Jesus’ invitation to all is to leave the patterns of this world and be restored to true love that can only be found in Him. A love that cleanses, purifies and restores. A love, like the eye of a needle, which requires we leave all our baggage behind and choose too follow Him.
As the old hymn says, “I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back. Though none go with me still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back.” Don’t confuse Jesus’ unconditional acceptance of you with permission to live the way you want to in the name of what the world calls love. That way of thinking is a golden road of deception designed to keep you from all God has for you, not welcome you into it.