My family recently moved to a community situated on a lake in the Adirondacks of New York. Rustic cabins that overlook the water and the surrounding mountains dot the lake. Recently as my family and I rode our bicycles along the road encircling the lake, I noticed that most of these properties had signs posted. PRIVATE PROPERTY. NO TRESPASSING. The signs emphasized the boundaries. Outsiders were told to pay attention to the fences.
We noted one exception: A group of rental cottages had a sign at their entrance with the words VISITORS WELCOME in large lettering. Lured in by the invitation, we cycled down the driveway. When we reached the parking area, a man greeted us and encouraged us to ride down to the shoreline and take in the view, bragging that it was the best around.
What a stark contrast. Instead of focusing on boundary markers, this man’s interest lay more in inviting people to experience what his rental property had to offer within its boundaries. All were welcome to come and take in the view.
It is easy to portray the gospel as a message of restriction, where fences and boundary markers become the focus. But John introduces Jesus as the one “who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood” (Rev. 1:5). The very first mention of Jesus in a book known for its heavy-handed judgment emphasizes grace and freedom. God’s love is preeminent, making us to be priests, a privileged position of those who have access to God.
Instead of pointing out the fence lines, we are being invited to come and enjoy the view. In his love, Jesus has freed us from our sins, poured his grace upon us, and given us direct access to God. We rejoice in this blessed relationship.
Lord, help me to erect the sign that invites people to discover the freedom that is found in you. Amen.