October 13, 2021, 10:52 AM

““Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants— Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And holds fast My covenant— Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.””
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭56:6-7‬ 

We can put an awful lot of energy into gaining acceptance, so much so, that assurance is often lost on it. Consider all the consumer pursuits of life. Whether it’s being a part of some social club, entering a certain career field, or even gaining church membership, we seek to be on the inside of circles that offer a perceived benefit. Just as often, we suspend those pursuits when we feel we don’t belong. It becomes a pattern that leaves us stuck in a tough paradox.

In Isaiah 56, the prophecy centers on acceptance for those who love and serve the Lord. This is an acceptance God truly aims to extend to anyone, even those who were not welcome in the early temple such as foreigners and eunuchs. God’s laying a foundation that will be instrumental in forming the new church. It will set up the new covenant of Christ for a new Jerusalem—a rebuilt nation. 

This future glory will rest on some key distinctions of the new church. First, there will be a need for the acceptance of all, as they are. Those who were blocked from places of worship by initial Jewish law will now be welcome in God’s house of prayer as much as any so-called insider. Secondly is the practice of real love and obedience for the Lord. With confession as the keystone and forgiveness as a driving force, living Godly lives in honest gratitude for salvation has helped to define the kingdom. When God fuses these two distinctions, it is truly an unprecedented phenomenon. This marriage of social justice and religion in one place now forms a new church that is far from the old one.

Since God’s mercy is for all people, His church is a place for all people. This passage in Isaiah reveals God’s promise of amazing care and blessings to those who love and serve Him. It doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter who you are. Even Jesus, The Prince of Peace, was a carpenter who hailed from Nazareth, from where it was questioned if “any good thing” could come.

While we may continue to jump at chances for acceptance, God continues to love us with a high intensity right where we are. Proper membership into groups is a fickle thing. Just like joining a gym, the membership itself won’t guarantee results much less fulfillment. It’s on you to put in the work. What’s so different about acceptance in God’s kingdom is that it is all about radical inclusion that we are inspired to pay forward.

Seeking the Lord first and foremost not only promises joy and fulfillment but freedom. When you allow Jesus to enter your heart, you free yourself from the pressures of assuming the posture of the legalistic church. Life through Christ is not about upholding laws and duties in a perfect display of behavior but embracing a new way to relate to each other in love. This is not just a peace offering to whomever appears to be on the fringes. It is an honest, true way of life in which love and acceptance are boundless. Disconnects or obstacles to a relationship with Christ are often found in the inner battle of acceptance. What could be delaying you in a fulfilling walk with the Lord? 

Prayer: Father God, Your name is above all names, and Your kingdom is above all others. You are an infinitely big God with infinite mercies flowing. Lord please lead me to the peace of Your supreme forgiveness and blessings. Forgive me for the times I lose sight of this. Thank you, Father, for the opportunity to know You and experience a life fulfilled. Help me to grow closer to You and stronger in Your ways of distinct love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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