Do you think Christianity is inclusive or exclusive? Who is allowed in and how are they allowed in? We need to understand that the cross of Christ is both inclusive and exclusive.
HOW THE CROSS IS INCLUSIVE
The cross is inclusive in that there are no barriers to who is invited, who is able to come to faith in Christ. The apostle Paul talks about this in Galatians 3:26-28. We find that everyone is invited to the Gospel of Christ. Ethnicity, gender, or social standing do not matter once faith is proclaimed.
Galatians 3:28 says, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ.” The apostle Paul isn’t saying that gender, social standing, or ethnicity do not exist. He is saying that when it comes to the church, everyone is equal. Although people are of different standings within society, they have the same value in the church.
Jesus invites everyone to the cross. He invites everyone to forgiveness through faith in Him. All are invited to repent of their sins and confess that Jesus is Lord. God views everyone the same, not by gender, economic standing, or ethnicity, but through the blood of Christ.
EXCLUSIVITY OF HOW ONE IS SAVED
While the invitation is to all for salvation, and everyone who is in Christ has the same value within the church, there is exclusivity of how they enter the body of Christ. Not everyone of every faith and religion is invited into the church. Jesus Himself talks about this.
John 14:6 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”‘ You cannot come to salvation through works of righteousness, of joining a specific denomination, or some other religious leader like Buddha or Mohammed. Salvation is exclusively through the sacrificial work on the cross of Jesus Christ. There is no other way to be reconciled to God but through Him.
THE EXCLUSIVITY OF HOW TO FOLLOW
There is also exclusivity of how to follow. First, to be in faith means you are following Christ. To be His disciple means you do not just believe, but you follow His teachings and attempt to live the lifestyle of which He has called you. There is nothing in Scripture that points to believing Him for salvation alone. Jesus Himself says, “if anyone loves Me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him (John 14:23).”
We are not invited to salvation and then given permission to think, believe, and act however we want. It’s not that we will never sin or fail again after we are saved. But to be a believer of Christ and His disciple means we allow Him to be the King of our lives. He decides our ethics, behaviors, and worldview.
The Gospel is both inclusive and exclusive. It is inclusive to who is invited. Everyone is welcome no matter your background. Once people are saved, it is inclusive in concerns to the value of who is in Christ. The Gospel is also exclusive in that you can only have salvation through Jesus Christ. It is also exclusive in how we follow. We are not allowed to be followers of Christ however we want. We are called to follow and obey Him, not just finding salvation in Him, but following Him in love and obedience.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.