Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jesus Said "It is finished"; Now The Rest Is Up To You

I find it incredible how much of our future God has left in our hands. He gets blamed for a lot of bad stuff that happens in people's lives but, if we take a very close look at the facts, most of those things happen because of our decisions. If it wasn't caused by our decision then it was caused by someone else's but it still comes down to the fact that bad things happen because of bad decisions. Even when it comes to our eternity, God has left the decision in our hands. In fact, he has left most things about eternity in our hands; whether we get to spend it with him in paradise, what kind of reception we will receive, what kind of rewards will be waiting for us, what will be the matters we get judged on.

I can't help but laugh when I hear people put out the one liner, "If God is a God of love he would never condemn a person to hell". Dummy, that isn't God's decision; it's yours. This is the thing people do not get: we are a tragic race, condemned by simply being born. It all happened a long time ago when our forefathers made the decision to enter into a relationship of disobedience and separate themselves from the perfection and glory of God. Our Father made something beautiful and we broke it. Was that Dad's fault or our own? Blaming our Father would be like blaming parents because the child broke the vase in the room he wasn't allowed in. It's not called negligence but disobedience.

So because our forefathers did this thing, all of us are condemned to be separated from God for eternity; except that he loves us so much that he came up with a plan to restore us back into a right relationship with him. He didn't have to do this but he did it anyway, because he loves us. Get it? He went through this huge effort not because he is obligated but because he wanted to. In the whole complicated plan we only have one thing we have to do and we have to do it right. The one thing we have to do is make a right decision.

Do you see the beauty of the plan? It was a wrong decision that got us all messed up; it will be a right decision that gets us out of that mess. At the end of ages it is this decision that we will decide our eternity, not our Father's decision. In the end, after all the work our Father and Jesus put into the plan, our salvation rests in our hands, or, more accurately, on our tongue. Jesus said:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Most of the world knows that bit. But do they know what follows it?

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

That bit catches a lot of people by surprise, including Christians. A lot of Christians choose to ignore it because judging and condemning is such an easy and natural thing. If we do not judge and condemn we may actually be left with nothing else to do but love. This is really an important point to make because Christians have done a very poor job of representing Jesus to the world. We are too busy condemning an already damned race of people. Jesus did not come for this; he came to show people the way out, how to make the right decision, how to escape from the trap. Our Father has no desire to condemn anyone and Jesus made it clear with the next bit that the only ones who condemns us is ourselves:

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. (John 3:18)

You see, after all God's work to open the door for us, the decision is left with us whether we walk through that door. At the end of ages it will not be Jesus or the Father or anyone else who will be condemning us; we made the decision ourselves. And Jesus made it clear that not making a decision is making a decision and unfortunately it is the wrong decision:

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. (Matthew 12:30)

Funny, this was not at all what I was going to write on this morning, so it must have some significance to you. Our Father never forces anything on us. All of his blessings are either received freely or rejected freely. We cannot blame him for anything in our lives because he has done everything he can for us except for one limit he put on himself; he refuses to cross the line of coming against the decisions we make. He loves us, the cross is proof of that, but he also respects us. The position of the Christian is to present Jesus to the world so that everyone is making an informed decision when they accept or reject our Father's offer. Perhaps most Christians fail at this because most of them fail to understand how much of eternity is in our own hands, or, once again, on our own tongue:

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

So, if you haven't done so already, get off the fence, make your decision and stop blaming my Father. He has done everything possible and some stuff that is impossible so that you have the ability to now make that decision. Decide wisely.

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