‘I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.’ Mark 2:17 CSB
There is a difference between loving nonbelievers and loving their ways. Paul says, ‘I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some’ (1 Corinthians 9:22 ESV).’ So:
1) Be courteous. ‘Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.’ (Colossians 4:6 NLT).
2) Be genuine. ‘Let love be without hypocrisy.’ (Romans 12:9 CSB). Because Jesus found common ground with the woman at the well, she made peace with God and then brought her friends and family to meet Jesus (see John 4). You have to spend time around nonbelievers to introduce them to Christ. When Levi invited Jesus and His disciples as dinner guests with tax collectors and other disreputable sinners, the Pharisees asked, ‘“How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”’ (Mark 2:16-17 NKJV).
Author Mark Roberts observes: ‘Table fellowship signified deep intimacy. To eat with someone was to share in their life and to allow them into yours … The Pharisees, who were committed to the highest standards of ritual purity … expected Jesus to do as they did, keeping plenty of distance between themselves and questionable types who might compromise Jesus’ holiness.’ Jesus didn’t look down on people and wasn’t concerned about maintaining a religious facade. He ate with sinners because they needed His help and were open to receiving it. How about you? Are you willing to get your hands dirty? Are you more concerned with what people think about you than you are about those who need Christ?
SoulFood: 2 Cor 5-8 Mark 14:53-65 Ps 34 Pro 21:14-16
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023