Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Acts Day 36 - Who Will He Call?

2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

There is an entire branch of Christianity that teaches that God only calls some people. The teaching states that some of us were born created by God to bring honour to His name and essentially there is nothing we can do about it. The rest of us were created to be evil and there is nothing we can do about that either. This heresy is called predestination. Your future is predetermined by God. You are a puppet in His grand drama with only the illusion of choice.

There is another growing movement in Christianity that says doctrine does not matter. Doctrine is a technical term that simply means teaching. This whole notion is absurd because the idea that doctrine does not matter is itself a doctrine or teaching.

The truth is that doctrine/teaching is both inescapable and critical because whatever we believe is doctrine and shapes both our world view and our picture of God. The doctrine that God only created some of us to spend eternity with Him and intentionally created the rest of us for hell and destruction makes Him anything but Love. What would you think of a parent who decided before they had any children which ones they were going to love and which ones they were going to hate? "We'll love the first and third and hate the 2nd and 4th."

The whole notion is absurd yet a substantial branch of Christianity believes this.

Now before I get sounding too harsh let me concede that there are a few verses which if you ignore the rest of the Story can sound like God plays favourites. Today we have one of those verses: "... as many as the Lord our God will call."

"See!" they say. "He only calls some people".

Maybe. Or maybe this verse is driving another point entirely. Maybe it's not about God being selective but exactly the opposite. Maybe it's about God speaking a profoundly inclusive truth/doctrine to a group of people trained to think exclusively.

It's all about context and knowing your audience. This is a group of Jews. They may be from all over the globe but wherever they live they live inside mental walls. God is for the Jews and against everyone else. Jesus confused his disciples and sometimes drew their criticism every time He crossed a border or engaged a foreigner. The religious leaders openly attacked Him for His "heretical inclusiveness".

Do you remember the story Jesus told one day about a man who had two sons and one wanted his inheritance early and left home with it and wasted it all living the wild party life? Do you remember why Jesus told that story? It was in response to the criticism by the Jews that He ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners. What people often miss is that the story is really about the son who stayed home, the son who appeared to be on the right track. When the wild "sinner" son came home the Father was overjoyed and immediately reinstated him into the family and threw a party. When the "faithful" son heard the sound of the party he inquired from a servant as to what was happening. When he found out it was a party for his delinquent brother he was angry. He refused to return to the house. What does the Father do? He leaves the party to find his angry son. Why? Because He loves him. He loves them both.

There is a passage in 2 Peter where Peter talks about why Jesus appears to be delayed in his return. What's taking so long? Is He just slow? Did He forget? Peter says there is one and only one reason for His delay. "He is long suffering not wanting ANY to perish." That hardly sounds exclusive. "Whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." That sounds inclusive too.

So what did Peter mean when he said "as many as the Lord our God will call"? He meant the Lord will give the Promise to and call many more people than any Jew could conceive of. He will call everyone.

Every. One.

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