Non Negotiables

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Thursday, September 20, 2018

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 ESV

Non-negotiables are things or people we won’t accept as members of our church or in our social circle no matter what. For some people the idea of not fellowshipping with people who went to prison is non-negotiable. For others, Christians should not get a divorce; and they won’t accept any divorced Christians in a leadership role in their church. That’s their non-negotiable.

In the New Testament Church, Jewish Christians did not want to fellowship with Gentiles. The idea of not eating with Gentiles was non-negotiable to them. Some Gentile Christians thought that not eating meat sacrificed to idols was non-negotiable. The religious leaders in Jesus’ time criticized him for fellowshipping with sinners. For them, not being around tax collectors, prostitutes, and other people considered unclean, was non-negotiable.

Jesus had two non-negotiables, and they both had to do with love. Though he was sinless and remain in the state of Holy perfection, he did not reject anyone. Jesus accepted everyone and ministered to anyone, including the Pharisees and the other religious leaders. He did not refuse Nicodemus- who was a religious leader, and a member of the Sanhedrin council. Jesus did not reject the woman caught in adultery. He ministered to people who were possessed with demons; healed lepers, and had fellowship with a Samaritan woman at the well.

Indeed, Jesus came to die for all sinners. No sinner is beyond his saving grace. Yet, we who have been redeemed by his love have a list of non-negotiables that influence the way we live our faith as disciples of Jesus. Some of us will not accept a specific group of people in our churches. We don’t think they are qualified to be called Christians because of the mistakes or crime they committed, or because of their lifestyle.

Christians should have an open door policy. We should hold people accountable for their mistakes and not condone sinful lifestyles. But we also have to show grace to those who are seeking redemption. We should never turn anyone away who is seeking an encounter with Jesus Christ. When people reach out to us for instruction and assistance about how to turn their lives around, we have to embrace the opportunity and minister to them in love.

My non-negotiables are: (1) Jesus Christ is God; (2) Jesus was born of a virgin; (3) he was crucified and died on the cross; (4) he was buried and arose on the third day; (5) he ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father; (6) Salvation only comes through Jesus Christ. I am flexible on everything else as the Holy Spirit leads me. My goal is to love people in their mess and not to condemn.

In today’s text, Paul reminds us all there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. If God does not condemn, who am I to condemn. As long as a person is willing to move towards the light of Christ, I will accept them no matter what they’ve done. To me, everything comes through Christ.

There are 611 Laws in the Jewish Torah. These laws are non-negotiable. Jesus gave us two: Love God and love our neighbor. These two should be non-negotiables for every follower of Jesus. And those who practice these two laws will have no problem accepting other people no matter how messed up they may be.

Prayer- Father, thank you for not condemning us and for saving us. Help us to be more accepting of others and to love as Jesus loved.

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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