Once, you Gentiles [all non-Jews] were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against him, God was merciful to you instead. Now they are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you so that they, too, will share in God’s mercy. For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone. (Romans 11:30-32 NLT)
This is just a part of the incomprehensible strategy of God. Yes, and strategy is the right word. I know it seems kind of strange to associate a marketing term with God’s plan of salvation, but that is just how the Bible reveals God’s plan in three chapters in the Book of Romans (9-11). God has created a strategy for saving the world, and it’s not what anyone normally thinks. It’s a strategy that runs counter to our way of thinking and doing things. It puts failure in front of success and disobedience in front of mercy.
For this reason, we who are on the inside of Christianity commonly miss it (We forget how we got in), as do those who are on the outside (They miss it because they are watching us forget). They assume we are religious and we fail to correct them. They stay on the outside because they see us as good people trying to be better, and they either don’t think they’re good enough, or they don’t want to be.
The assumption is that Christianity is all about good people, or at least, people trying to be good. Everybody knows that. Well everybody’s wrong.
How long do you think you would have to ask people on the street what a Christian is before you would hear anything about grace, mercy or forgiveness, even if you found a few Christians? A long time. Maybe never. There are just not many people out there who know that Christians are bad people who have received God’s mercy in spite of themselves. And yet here it is in the Bible in black and white, “For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone.” It’s the same for all of us — good, bad, Jew, non-Jew, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist — God has had mercy on all of us.
This is why Grace Turned Outward is so important. We are redefining what a Christian is for most of the world, because most of the world has it wrong. And if people misunderstand the gospel, then how will they be saved?
Our message for the world is that God’s grace is for sinners like us, which means that His grace is also for sinners like everyone. So when you get up in the morning and put those boots down on the ground, think: “God’s grace is for everyone I’m going to meet today — everyone. No exceptions.” Go, and let someone know.