IT IS NOT, THEN, THE GOOD PEOPLE WHO ARE IN AND THE BAD PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT. Everyone is in only by the grace of Jesus Christ. It is only what Jesus has done for you that can give you standing before God.
There is no one, not even the greatest human being, who does not need the grace of Jesus Christ. And there is no one, not even the worst human being, who can fail to receive the grace of Jesus Christ if there is repentance and faith.
In Jesus Christ, prostitute and king, male and female, Jew and Gentile, one race and another race, moral and immoral---all sit down at the table as equals. Equally sinful and lost, equally accepted and loved....
God is not ashamed of us. We are all in his family.
There is another side to this. All cultures encourage their members to look down on some people in order to congratulate themselves for their own superiority. It may be people from another race or class. Maybe you look down on those snobs with so much education, or maybe it's the ignorant ones with no education. Maybe you despise the people whose political views you think are ruining the country. In all of these examples, you have been taught to see some people as unclean, beyond the pale, unholy----while you are okay. Jesus Christ's values are radically different. The world values pedigree, money, race and class. He turns that all upside down These things that matter so much outside Jesus' church must not be brought inside. He says, in a sense, 'In my family, those things that are so important out there in the world must not be so important.'
Hidden Christmas, pages 33, 34, Timothy Keller