Grace...Who Gets It?
Updated: Apr 9, 2019
With the recent tragic event of the death of Nipsey Hussle (a well known and well loved rapper and philanthropist), amongst the mourning, there has been a lot of murmuring and hate spewed via social media. Though the Word instructs us to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), I keep coming across Christians who are opposed. They are opposed because they feel “Nipsey wasn’t a Christian, therefore, he doesn’t deserve to be mourned”. I have even had someone say to me that, “the idea of mourning someone who isn’t a follower of Christ isn’t ok” and continue to try to rebuke me for feeling as though he deserves to be mourned. My spirit was so grieved upon reading this that I was to the point of tears. I cannot come to grips with the idea that some of my brothers and sisters in Christ really think that God doesn’t care when someone perishes if they weren’t a Christian...
Where did this theology come from because it is not from God! It isn’t biblical. God doesn’t wish that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). In fact, He gave His very own Son so that none should have to perish for eternity (John 3:16-17).
I’m not sure when the posture of someone’s heart became the determining factor for if they deserve to be mourned or not, but if that’s a belief any of us hold, we must pause and check our own heart’s posture - because it is not like Christ’s.
The loss of a soul that had not received the Lord is honestly even more reason to mourn with their loved ones.
You don’t have to agree with someone’s life choices in order to empathize with the loved ones they leave behind...you just have to be human.
(And to be completely truthful, none of us know exactly where Nipsey’s heart was by the time he passed. Reports state that he lived for an hour after being shot before taking his last breath. No one knows what transpired in his last moments of life. And honestly...it isn’t our business or our job to determine what his eternal fate is.)
It's crazy how we act as though we are the Judge when we don't even have access to the courtroom.
According to the Word of God, Grace is a GIFT given by the Lord to all who believe. It isn’t earned through our works or our own righteousness (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is given freely to any who believes in Jesus Christ and submits to Him as Lord and Savior.
"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." Ephesians 2:8-9
" For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
I fear that we have forgotten this or were never taught it, as the saints seem to be more legalistic than loving recently. (It’s not everyone, but it shouldn’t be anyone.)
Christ came to free us not only from the law (Romans 8:2) but from the condemnation that the law brings as well (Romans 3:20). If Christ saw us as needing to be free from condemnation, why do we insist on forcing it on others?
Jesus died for the very people we tend to condemn.
There is now no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ (Romans 8:1)! We should want to share the grace we’ve received with others and help liberate them from the condemnation in the world, not add to it.
Reading the comments from fellow believers concerning Nipsey and his salvation or the lack thereof (none of us know his eternal fate), was so hurtful! The things that they had to say were hateful and did not reflect Christ AT ALL! I don’t care what scripture you take out of context to justify it, it did not reflect Him. Honestly, if I did not know the Lord for myself, the things I’ve read would’ve put a bad taste in my mouth concerning Him.
I think some of us believe that it pleases the Lord when those who don’t receive Him go to hell or that He doesn’t love anyone who doesn’t love Him. God doesn’t find joy and satisfaction in His creation burning for eternity. He isn’t a hateful God. (And to be real, He isn’t even the One Who sends us there, we send ourselves by not accepting His free gift of salvation. It’s not petty punishment, Hell is the default eternity that we imposed on ourselves in Genesis, but this topic is for another blog post). God first loved us (1 John 4:19)! He loves everyone, the saint and the sinner (hate the sin not the sinner). His love isn’t limited to just those we think are worthy of it. I’ve never heard of anyone who would send their son to die for someone they hate.
May I caution, let us not forget where we used to be and where God brought from us from. We didn’t always smell like Christ’s sacrifice. We used to smell like our sin. We all have fallen short of the glory. (Romans 3:10, 23)
Somehow we’ve gotten this unconscious idea that Jesus is only for those who are “good enough” or “look like a Christian”. We forget that the healthy don’t need a doctor, the sick do (Mark 2:16-17). Christ died for the sinner, and you used to be that sinner too (Romans 5:8).
I was that sinner. I have also been that legalistic Christian harming more souls than I was helping. I was legalistic because I didn’t understand God’s love nor had I accepted His grace. Because I hadn’t accepted His grace, I couldn’t extend it to others or understand why He was giving it to them freely. But now I get it.
God doesn’t forgive because we deserve it, He forgives because of Who He is. God doesn’t love because of what we do, He loves because of Who He is.
Christ died on the Cross for Nipsey, just like He died on the Cross for you and me...and every other soul that has ever existed. Whether Nipsey received Christ, we don’t know and it doesn’t matter now, it is what it is - but regardless of what it is, his loved ones still deserve respect and are still worthy of our love, prayers and empathy.
Christ died knowing not everyone would receive Him because He loves us all anyhow (Jeremiah 31:3).
So before we judge the next person and try to evaluate if they are worthy of love, Grace, empathy, let’s remember how far from Christ we were when He laid down His life for us. Let’s remember the mess we were in when Christ came and cleaned us. Let’s remember who we used to be and how patient Christ was with us...because so soon do we forget.
It’s deeper than legalistic posts and messages. It’s a heart issue...and I pray that God transforms hearts of stone to hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26)...and I pray that this post has planted a seed in that direction.
Anyone can be religious.
It takes a strong and humble person to be gracious.
“Give a warm welcome to any brother who wants to join you, even though his faith is weak. Don’t criticize him for having different ideas from yours about what is right and wrong.”
“They are God’s servants, not yours. They are responsible to Him, not to you. Let Him tell them whether they are right or wrong. And God is able to make them do as they should.”