“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Today, I’m going to expand a little upon the whole concept of who chose whom. I know, I know, I talk about this a lot but only because the more I do, the closer I feel I get to truth. Here’s something I hope we all can agree upon, that truth matters. Our idea on what God is or isn’t should be based on what God really is or isn’t. It’s pretty bad to disagree with the real God and insist that the one you like is this way or that. Yet, we see it all the time.
To truly understand God, we need a reference point. What am I basing my beliefs upon? Christians supposedly base their view of God from the bible, Muslims base theirs on the Koran, and so on. However, not everybody agrees on what their own book says. Christians have a wide array of opinions. Sure, there is some room for disagreement in interpretation, but there is a significant body of belief that is clearly contradictory to scripture.
Do we have a right to interpret scripture as we feel, to accept or reject that which suits our needs? I don’t see how that can be wise, given the overwhelming evidence as to the historical accuracy of the bible and what seems an impossibility of getting rid of it in even the parts of the world where ownership can bring death. There sure seems to be something divine about it. In the end, it’s up to each individual to judge the book for ourselves; however, each of us one day will need to give an account for that.
Having said that, we find scripture to be very difficult to understand. There is so much that flies in the face of cultural ideology. There is so much that simply doesn’t make sense – on face value. It’s amazing to me how God only reveals the meaning of scripture to those he wants. I’m talking about those who do not yet believe. We see Isaiah being told to preach the gospel so that people WON’T understand and believe. We see Jesus speaking in parables so that the crowds won’t understand but only his followers would. That doesn’t make sense, does it? I mean, we think God wants to (maybe even will) save everybody, so these passages seem incorrect.
What do we do with them? Most don’t even bother with those “tough” verses and skip right over them. Others try to perform linguistic gymnastics to justify their own point of view. And, some will seriously consider that scripture is correct, and their view of the world is not. Given the evidence in support of the bible, under honest examination, I don’t see any reason to treat as false the clear teaching of the bible – as much as some of it upsets me. I have come to be content with not understanding something, yet trusting scripture to be true, only to discover the meaning of it at a later time. I trust the bible and am richly rewarded as God slowly uncovers jewels for me.
Perhaps one of the firmest worldviews is that God is in heaven waiting for humans to recognize and follow him. He is the one that sends messengers so that we might know him better. Yes, it is our choice to accept or reject God. Some believe that God will judge based upon that; others believe that God will allow everything to work out in the end. Either way, the underlying belief is that humans are the ones that choose God. Another view is that everyone starts out as part of God’s “family” but are allowed to “sell their souls” to the devil. Again, it is the human who makes the choice.
Let me throw out just two passages that will trouble that worldview. Mind you, there are many, many, many more to choose from.
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
Matthew 11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
The first has the word “unless” which means that some will – and some won’t – be able to come Jesus. Some means not everybody. Unless what? Unless the Father draws him. Him who? The one who the Father draws. Humans don’t have a natural inclination to Jesus. In fact, they must be “drawn” to Him by the Father. At the end of the day, nobody can come to Jesus unless the Father specifically acts. It also means that God does not draw everyone. That’s not the common understanding. We think Jesus is pounding at our door. Not so.
The last passage is a transaction that Jesus initiates. Again, it is a selective action. This time, however, Jesus is the one who reveals God to us. We cannot know God unless Jesus reveals Him to us, and only Jesus chooses whom he will do that for. Again, that’s not the way we think. We think God is there for everyone to know; it’s our choice to choose him. Again, not so.
Here’s the takeaway for today. IF, and I say, IF you know God, it is only because the Father and the Son have chosen to reveal themselves specifically to you. You didn’t do anything. God did. That’s good news, because other parts of the bible teach us that you are aware of God and know you are supposed to worship him – but you won’t. None of us will. Ever. Yes, we have free will to choose, and we choose anything other than the true God which includes ignoring or twisting scripture to suit out needs.
So, my friend, if you know God, consider yourself EXTREMELY fortunate. In fact, extremely doesn’t even come close to describing the magnitude of our blessing. Rejoice! This indeed is Good News!
Father, thank you for having mercy on me. I need to keep reminding myself of this over and over and over. It never gets old. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers