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Christ Has Welcomed You

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Romans 14:1-15:13 deals with the topic of Christian liberty and how both the weak and strong (immature and mature) within the family of God are to relate to one another. If the amount of space is any indication of a topic's importance, (36 verses total) this issue was significant. Romans 15:7 sums up Paul’s solution to this problem as well as any for both the weak and strong: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” 
Many carelessly overlook the grounds or the foundation for this acceptance: “Christ has welcomed you.”
For a moment, let those wonderful, life-changing, sin-killing, hope-giving words sink in: “Christ has welcomed you!”
Many however still struggle with issues. 
For example; “Doug, I still struggle to move past my horribly abusive childhood. I was ridiculed and rejected by my own parents. I never once heard them tell me they loved me. They finally abandoned me!”
I know. But Jesus Christ has welcomed you. He will never abuse or abandon you. He will never leave nor forsake you. Jesus Christ has welcomed you!
And I know the response of many of you to these words. You are saying to yourself, “How can Jesus welcome and receive me when, “I’m intellectually deficient. Everyone is smarter than me.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
“I’m physically and mentally disabled. People go out of their way to avoid even looking at me.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
 “I can’t get out of my heart the shame I feel for all the sinful and sexual things I did when I was a teenager.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
“I never had any close friends growing up. I’ve lived my entire life alone.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
“I’m not particularly attractive. Everyone is either more beautiful or more handsome than me.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
“I’ve never succeeded at anything in life. I struggle to hold down a job.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
“I’ve always come in last at whatever game I played.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
“I have these awful, ugly, perverted thoughts racing through my head and I can’t seem to shake free from them!”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
“My husband or wife walked out on me.”
Ok, but Christ never will.
 “My children want nothing to do with me.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
“I feel so dirty inside. My soul is so horribly stained by my sin.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
“I don’t have much to offer this local church.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
“When I walk out of church, there isn’t much
waiting for me to do. There aren’t any people waiting to take me in.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
“I’m addicted to pornography. I’m addicted to alcohol. I’m addicted to shopping. I’m addicted to social media.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
“I live in constant fear and anxiety.”
Ok, but “Christ has welcomed you!”
Please realize, I’m not in the least dismissing or minimizing the pain you feel for one of these reasons or perhaps one or several that I didn’t list. But hear me well. If you never hear anything again that I say or write, hear this: “Jesus Christ has welcomed you.”
And why has He done this? To what end? For what ultimate purpose? It was all so that Praise might be given to God!
Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash