"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Few, The Humble, The Redeemed

John 14:1-6 (NIV)
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
        Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
        Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Taint Fair!

        Egalitarians reject John 14:6 because they believe everyone deserves the same right to get to heaven. The problem with that reasoning is no one deserves the right to get to heaven. But Jesus, in His loving grace, grants just one exception to that spiritual law, and only to those who obey Jesus' gospel qualify for that exception.
         Not fair? Go to any commercial airport in the world and approach the loading gate for a particular flight without a boarding pass. What is the likelihood of your getting to board? Even when you rant about the unfairness of their exclusivity and threaten to sic the ACLU on them, they will not budge. But you will budge when Airport Security comes to lead you away in handcuffs.
         Or, what about the apocalyptic movie scenario where a massive meteor is plunging toward Earth, guaranteeing total extinction of all human life, except for the few who qualify to be kept safe in the one remote habitat that will sustain the lives of a limited number? To qualify, you will have to be a key member of government, a well-experienced medical specialist and his or her team, a recognized scholar, or a scientist or engineer with the necessary credentials. Will that be fair to you, who have none of those qualifications? Of course not. But will it be right? Absolutely!
        So, what is the difference between that fictional scenario, and God's necessary discrimination between people who obey Him and those who don't?

Totally Unfair!

        Now, for an example of discrimination that seems even less fair, but happens daily in third world countries: Miguel, an eleven-year-old Mexican orphan has heard that a Norte Americano couple will visit the orphanage this afternoon. One of the children will leave for the United States, to live in a fine, rich home with a loving family. That one child will not have to dread a life of sleeping on a rotting pad of cardboard under a roof of discarded corrugated metal, and picking barely edible garbage for sustenance.
        As the moment of visitation arrives, Miguel slicks down his shaggy, black hair, wipes at stains on his one good shirt, and practices his smile for the rich Americans. The orphanage workers suddenly sweep into the dormitory to nervously chase the children to the dining room, where they line up and stand straight. Two middle-aged white people enter with expectant smiles on their faces, reminding Miguel to smile as well. Slowly, they pass down the line of children, asking questions of some through the translator accompanying them. They approach Miguel, glancing at each child, and then they are right in front of Miguel. He smiles so hard his mouth hurts, but suddenly they are in front of the next child, and then the next.
        They hardly glanced at him!
        An eternal hour later, the orphanage director reenters the room, touches a little girl's arm, and leads her away. Miguel stares in horror, yet he isn't too surprised. He fights back tears; only los niños pequeños, "the little children," are supposed to cry, but the tears seep out anyway, because this rejection is the worst of all: In a week he will turn twelve, and the orphanage can no longer keep him. Without family or outside friends, he will become homeless, and hungry, and filthy. He may survive his teen years, but maybe not. Though he hates the gangs, joining them may be his only way out—until he gets killed in a drug war.
        The happy days of Miguel's life have ended, and he faces his dismal prospects with resignation. Miguel isn't able to think in terms of fair or unfair. It is what it is, and that's that.

And The Point Is:

        Fairness in life is a luxury that few get to enjoy. So, why the outrage about God's selectivity? He didn't create the evil in the world; it exists because of human rebelliousness, and God has done all He can to give mankind an opportunity for redemption. How stupid is it to reject His offer because it isn't fair to others?

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