Do you ever view someone as unworthy of the Gospel and Christ’s sacrifice, or that they are beyond God’s forgiveness? Perhaps your feeling is based solely on a first impression or what you have heard about another. You might know a person very well and have witnessed their deep depravity and evil conduct many times.
Before any of us judge someone unfit for the Gospel message, we should look into a mirror. An honest evaluation reveals that my sins separate me from God in exactly the same manner as everyone else. (Isa. 59:2) From a practical standpoint any sin makes us unworthy, and so my transgressions are no worse or better than the next person. We all need God’s saving grace.
Please know that the Gospel, Christ’s sacrifice, and God’s forgiveness are available to everyone. Even the most vile of sinners can change. (1 Cor. 6:9-11) Redemption was offered to the killers of Jesus (Acts 3:13-15) and some five thousand men accepted. (Acts 4:4) Saul of Tarsus, the great persecutor of the church, was reached by the Gospel, saved by Christ’s sacrifice, and enjoyed God’s forgiveness.
Who am I to judge that someone is out of reach of God’s plan to save? That they should not even be giving a chance to hear the Gospel’s message when its power has been demonstrated so often? Even Jesus, the Great discerner of men’s hearts, preached to those He knew were dishonest. (John 6:63-66)
Before we exclude someone from hearing the Gospel, consider the people who were offered the message of salvation in the New Testament.
1) The Jews who called for the death of Jesus. Acts 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
2) The Samaritans who were despised by the Jews. Acts 8:5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.
3) A high court official. Acts 8:27-28 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship (28) and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
4) The Gentiles who were thought unworthy by the Jews. Acts 11:1-4 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. (2) So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, (3) “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” (4) But Peter began and explained it to them in order:
5) Idolaters. Acts 17:22-23 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. (23) For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.
In everyone of these cases, some people responded favorably to God’s Word. These were people some might think unworthy of God’s blessings. The lesson is simple; it is our task to preach the gospel to everyone who will give us an audience, and then let them decide how they will handle God’s Word. (Ezek. 3:17-19)