My mind has been spinning this weekend as I read more and more accounts of people deeply hurting and afraid. I pray God reconciles our land and heals these deep hurts. Caralyn wrote an excellent post that I highly encourage everyone read to better understand the tragedy of George Floyd’s death. The grace-filled discussions in the comments show how God’s love unites believers from all backgrounds. Today, I have no words myself to add to the racial conversation. Instead, I want to remember God’s love for EVERYONE as Paul describes in Romans 3.
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of that law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.Romans 3: 21-31 NIV (emphasis added)
God’s Love for Everyone
The early church really struggled with understanding how to bring people into the faith who didn’t originally identify with the Jewish church. In fact, Peter had to receive a vision from God and witness the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles to understand that the Jewish Law wasn’t required for those who believed in Jesus. Because of this confusion, Paul wrote several letters to unite believers despite their previous religious or ethnic backgrounds. Paul emphasized that Jesus’ death and resurrection personified God’s love for everyone.
Jesus even faced this tension between ethnic backgrounds in Matthew 15:21-28. When a Canaanite woman came to Him seeking her daughter’s healing, Jesus did not turn her away. Jesus praised the woman’s faith and granted her request. Truly, God loves all people and affirms each individual’s worth.