Several years ago, I received an invitation to attend a “legislative prayer breakfast” at the Coverdale Building next to the gold dome in downtown. I had only recently returned to Georgia and had only been serving Northside as pastor for a few months. I was honored to receive the invitation, but to be honest, I was very nervous. It wasn’t so much the legislators I was nervous about. I knew that most of these guys and gals are just regular folks elected from their communities to do a part-time job. I was most nervous because I knew that there would be many high-profile pastors in the room that I felt were WAY out of my league.
Looking back, I know it was silly. I have since gotten to know many of those “high-profile” guys and have become good friends with some. But at the time, I saw them as sanctified celebrities. Thankfully, I survived my first legislative prayer breakfast without spilling coffee or doing anything embarrassing. And many of those men I once viewed as celebrities, I now see as colleagues and mentors working toward the same goal in the field God in which God has planted us.
I love how Peter begins his second letter. Remember who is writing this letter – arguably the greatest celebrity apostle of them all. He was literally Jesus’ best friend during his earthly ministry. He was also one of the two guys that Jesus personally tapped to lead the church from the backwoods of Judea to the forefront of Roman civilization. Peter was so important that the Catholics called him the first Pope. But that’s not how he starts his letter. Instead, he says, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Did you catch it? Peter doesn’t write down to his flock like he’s some spiritual superstar. He didn’t expect special treatment. Instead, he put everybody who is in Christ on the same playing field. We all have a “faith of equal privilege.” The Gospel is no respecter of person, prestige, or popularity. All are saved in exactly the same way. There may be a myriad of differing circumstances that lead to our salvation. I was a 12-year old boy under conviction for his sinfulness after reading the Gospel of John for the very first time. You may have sought out Jesus because you hit rock bottom as an adult and needed rescued. Regardless of the circumstances, however, all who are saved must come through the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I love this fact that I can listen to my favorite “celebri-pastor” and rejoice in the fact that he is a sinner saved by grace. In God’s purposes, he has blessed him with a louder voice in the culture, but nonetheless, he was once a sinner in need of a Savior. I love the fact that those quiet servants in the church who work hard for no earthly recognition were once sinners desperately in need of grace. From the pulpit to the pew to the Apostle Peter and everywhere in between, throughout time and space, Christians share this wonderful common bond. We all must come to Jesus through the cross.
I do happen to believe in the exclusivity of the Gospel. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.” No exceptions. So, brothers and sisters in Christ, rejoice that we share this wonderful faith of equal privilege, all adopted as children of the King.