We human beings love to clump ourselves into categories. Depending upon what we feel is important, we long to be part of this group—but exempt from that one. This is why so many of us spent our high school years trying to snag a place with the cool crowd while maintaining distance from the not-so-cool crowd. Too often, we hang on to the “us-versus-them” mentality as adults—but as believers, we have no right to think in these terms. Why not? Because for all the differences between one Christian and the next, we all knocked on the same door to be saved.
Think about it: the unsaved philanthropist is no “less lost” than the unsaved sex offender.
No matter how noble a life he’s living, when a person first knocks, he does so alongside the shoplifter, the gossip, and the prostitute. And even after ten or twenty or sixty years of Christian living, apart from grace we’re all still beggars stumbling around in pitch darkness. This is what makes a joke of our self-importance: we start out side by side, and although we might spend our lives in a way that’s more pleasing to God than the next person, at the end we’re once again side by side—at the door of heaven only because of the blood of Jesus.
“For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing” (Eph. 2.8-9, Voice).