By Shane Kastler
One of the great promises of God is that He will save people from “every tongue, tribe, people, and nation.” (Revelation 5:9) Heaven will not be populated by only one nationality or race; but rather some from every ethnic group. While there is variety in terms of nationality; there is also variety in terms of background. Not all Christians were raised in Christian homes; and sadly, not everyone who is raised in a Christian home grows up to become a Christian.
Likewise, not all Christians come from big cities and not all come from the country. By God’s design there is variety in the church. Take the Apostle Paul and his missionary cohorts for example. When Paul is concluding his letter to Titus he mentions several fellow servants by name: “When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them.” (Titus 3:12-13)
Both Paul and Apollos were native Jews who came from very prominent cities. Paul was born in Tarsus, which had an elite status as a “Roman” city; meaning citizens of Tarsus were granted Roman citizenship. Apollos was from Alexandria, which had the largest library in the world at that time and was a major center of education. So, Paul and Apollos came from “nice” cities. But not so with Artemas and Tychicus, who came from Ephesus; a city steeped in paganism. Ephesus was the home of the Temple of Artemis which was one of the seven wonders of the world. The Christian “Artemas” (same name with different spelling) was no doubt named for this pagan deity by pagan parents, yet by God’s grace he was saved. As was Tychicus, whose name meant “fortunate one.” He was probably born into paganism but saved by grace through faith. Zenas is described as a lawyer, which can mean an expert in Jewish Law or Roman Law. His name is a derivate of Zeus, so he too was named after a false god. Yet God mercifully revealed Himself to Zenas.
Whatever your background is; it is largely irrelevant in “Kingdom of God” terms. A privileged upbringing doesn’t endear you to God anymore than growing up in a slum. All sinners are guilty at the foot of the cross, but all sinners are forgiven who trust in Christ for salvation. Repent and believe in Jesus today. Your background doesn’t matter, and your sins (though many) are forgivable. God saves sinners from all over the world. May His grace save you.