“The Lord is . . . not willing that any should perish.” 2 Peter 3:9
How simple is that? It is the will of the Lord that all people should enter into this amazing relationship He wants with us. All people. No one should perish. There is little question, based on simple Scripture, that Jesus died to give the opportunity for salvation to all people.
That means there is no room for racism in the Christian faith. Yes, I realize racism is part of Christian history, but we have not always acted in accordance with the will of our Lord.
Now, I suffer from cultural angst as much as the next person. That means I find myself uncomfortable outside my own culture. To enter into a situation where I don’t understand the words and don’t really know what’s going on is naturally a little disconcerting. That’s not racism. Real racism goes far beyond that. Racism is another form of depersonalization; which, of course, is a foundation of hate.
If there are people in my mind that I think of as less in the sight of God, or undesirable to Him, then I am wrong. God loves every person of His creation. All are in His heart. Jesus died for each one. Any walls I put up are mine alone.
But if I understand that God loves all people, then I have to understand that He calls to each one within that person’s culture. No person has to become like me in order to be saved. God loves each one where and as they are. Dominant cultures tend to think of themselves as some kind of ideal or model for others. The truth is that the variety of culture is as much a testament to the creativity of God as the variety we see among people. That doesn’t mean everything in every culture is good. It simply means that one culture does not have a corner on the heart of God.
Of course, culture isn’t the only thing that makes people different. Nor is skin color. Body size and shape, gender, hair color, language, even choices we have made suggest differences. God loves us all. Many of the differences that we so foolishly allow to divide us are simply expressions of the amazing creativity of God.
Oh, yeah, I mentioned choices. Does God love the sinner, the person who has not yet come to Him for salvation? Of course! Does He make a distinction between sins, so that those who do this sin are acceptable, but those who do that one are not? Of course not! Jesus came to wash away sin, no matter what that sin is. So even the divisions between us that we consider to be the result of past or continuing sinful choices are lost in the love of God. He loves us all!
Now there are some people teaching that God gets whatever He wants and, if He wants everyone to be saved then, all are or will be saved. That certainly is not what the Bible teaches. Yet, if He does love every person, why are not all going to be saved? It isn’t as simple as saying that all kinds of people will be in Heaven. The question is why every individual is not going to be saved.
What would keep God from saving every person He loves?
I’ll explain tomorrow.