Salvation Is for Everyone
Open Your Bible
Acts 11:1-30, 1 Peter 4:16-19, Romans 15:25-28
BY Andrea Lucado
Text: Acts 11:1-30, 1 Peter 4:16-19, Romans 15:25-28
I slinked into my church’s Saturday night service and quietly sat in a row near the back. It had been a hard week, and I wanted to be alone. With a quick glance, I saw a few people I knew scattered about the room. It would have been good for me to stick around and chat with them, but instead I left after the closing prayer and sat in my car. Alone.
This is often my default when things get hard: be by myself, pray, journal, figure it out. It might be your default, too, and that would be understandable since we’re both living in a culture that promotes individualism and a DIY attitude toward all things.
I don’t know the origin of this isolating cultural perspective, but I know it wasn’t learned from the book of Acts. In this chronicle of the early Church, we’ve read story after story of unity and togetherness. Scripture tells us “all the believers were together and held all things in common,” that they “were of one heart and mind” (Acts 2:44; 4:32).
Acts 11 carries on this unity theme, first with Peter defending the Gentiles. To say a Gentile could also be saved and receive the Holy Spirit was a big deal at the time. Until then, only Jews were considered candidates for Christianity; so letting Gentiles into the club was sort of like letting freshmen on the varsity team without a try-out. You just don’t do that. But Jesus did.
After listening to Peter’s defense, the skeptics responded, saying, “So God has granted repentance resulting in life even to the Gentiles!” (Acts 11:18). Here we see the Church embracing the outsider in the name of Christ. In Jesus, salvation was—and is—offered to all, regardless of our labels.
Next, we hear about the revival at Antioch. The number of conversions was so great that Barnabas went searching for his buddy Paul for help. At Antioch, they labored together for an entire year. Barnabas could have manned the Antioch church by himself, but he pulled in a friend to be with him on the journey. The disciples knew that ministry together was better than ministry alone.
Finally, we get to the part that is my personal favorite, where believers are united not only in deed, but also in name as the term “Christian” is introduced (Acts 11:26). Before any other title we may hold—Jew, Gentile, mother, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker—is this one: Christian. It sets us apart as believers in the death and resurrection of Christ. Even stronger than a bloodline, is the Christ-line we all share. It is what makes the Church body a family.
I thought of this while I was sitting in my car, in the church parking lot, alone. A building full of family sat in front of me, yet I was operating like the Lone Ranger. I had forgotten that the purpose of the Church is to do what Barnabas did at Antioch: “He encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with a firm resolve of the heart” (Acts 11:23). I had forgotten that salvation was for all weary sinners and I was welcome here, even on my worst days.
So I did what was not in my nature to do—I reached out to the Body, in the form of a group text. Thirty minutes later, I was sitting with friends, eating chips and guacamole. I shared a little and laughed a lot, and I was reminded that we were never meant to do this alone, that believers are united by an unbreakable thread in Christ. Before we are anything else we are Christians, and that makes us more than friends. That makes us family.
88 thoughts on "Salvation Is for Everyone"
I like how the devotional focused on the theme of unity and community. It is so important in all stages of life to have a friend or two to confide it – to feel like you are being heard and that you are a part of something. This is something for me to meditate on and to pray for my friends and family … that they not isolate but instead reach out, not only to me but to others, and intentionally participate in their community.
Being physically disabled and suffering from chronic pain, we haven’t been able to go to church, but watch it on television, for quite a while. We ran into one of the ladies from our church at the store and she invited me to join the Women’s summer online Bible Study. They would only meet in person twice. I’m trying to reach out but I don’t think I’m getting it right. The women aren’t very active and responsive when I ask a question. Now I do know some of these women personally and even they aren’t responsive. After I started having health problems and couldn’t go or help at church, they all scattered. What am I doing wrong? The only fellowship I am getting, besides my husband and mom, are from facebook friends. I read all the different posts of these women doing things together and I would at least like to be a part of their conversations, even if I can’t go to most things in person.
Georgia, I pray that God has answered/answers your longing for fellowship. I have no answers myself for you but just wanted to say you’re not alone. This summer I was feeling extremely isolated and alone, angry, exhausted and overly irritable. Although mobile (with two little ones in toe 24hrs/day) every time I reached out to others – in my missional community or church – I received very little response which can be beyond discouraging. Despite our shared longing and need for community Jesus is our most intimate friend and he is a bible and prayer away longing for us to get to know him better.
It amazes me reading back on all of your comments. God is wonderful and loving! I’ve seen how He uses you in churches. When you suffer from anxiety or depression or a loss you suddenly have compassion for the people around you. You know what to say to that lonely girl in the back or the devastated family that just lost their child. We might not always get what we need from our church family but I believe if you give what you need, you can also be fulfilled that way!
Thank you. I guess I think I try that, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Or maybe I think I am but I’m really not because I don’t even know how. I guess I’m unsure what healthy defenses look like.
I’m trying now to just focus everything on my relationship with Christ. Let the rest fade away. I have a wonderful loving husband, and while I believe other relationships are important as well, they just don’t seem to be available to me for now, and that’s ok. I will have dark days still but I will fight to fix my eyes on the one who died to save me.
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