Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.”
The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” (Isaiah 56:3, 8 ESV)
My wife, Martha, explained to a young man on a plane last week, “Jesus did not die for a religion. He died to have a relationship with you.” She went on to tell the story about the thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him. And as we know, Jesus promised him that he would join him in paradise on that day. The interesting thing is that he did not live by Jesus’ teachings; but what he did was have faith at a critical moment before his death. The Lord’s desire is that no one perishes, which is why having access to him was made easy. I love how God continues gathering folks into his family. His foreign policy is essentially an open door policy for anyone who wishes to walk through it.
To further expand on this issue, Jesus did not want to create a religion. He preached the Gospel to people right where they are. It did not matter what background, belief, or religion they grew up with; the gift of salvation was offered and was theirs to accept. He didn’t require them to be perfect. He encouraged them to repent and have faith.
This truth applies today as it did back then. People can be black, white, brown, Hindu, Muslim, Buddist, or whatever. Ultimately, what matters most is having a relationship with Jesus, and then everything else will eventually be sorted out. My wife says, “Jesus is a gentleman and he softens you. He did not die for junk. He values you.” That young man on the plane turned his life over to Jesus after our friend Victor guided him through prayer. What seemed like a spontaneous visit and conversation ended up being a divine appointment. God met him on a plane and he used two appointed, yet unassuming messengers to point him to the Lord. How wonderful and exciting is that?