If you have ever been an outsider, you know just how miserable it feels to want to be a part of a group when you are not allowed in. As a man who grew up with Cerebral Palsy, I know what it is like to feel like an outsider. I have been excluded from games on the playground. I have been excluded from social groups. I have been denied jobs because of my disability. I know just how rough it is to be on the outside looking in.
As sinners, we are all outsiders. We are outside God's family, and there is nothing we can do to get in. As gentiles, we are even doubly cursed. Not only are we sinners, but we are not part of God's chosen people. Our plight would be grim were it not for Christ.
It is true that we ourselves cannot earn our way into the family of God, but we now know the Son. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, has a permanent place in the household and he welcomes us into the house with him. We cannot earn our way in, but the Son can welcome us in. Through Christ, we are no longer outsiders longing for a place in the family, but now we have a place by grace.
John 8:31-38 (NRSV)
31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;
32 "and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
33 They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, 'You will be made free'?"
34 Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.
35 "The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever.
36 "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
37 "I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word.
38 "I declare what I have seen in the Father's presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father."