October 20, 2005
Friday, 21st October, 2005
1:46 p.m. NZ time
Here’s a recent email I got from my friend. He asked me a very relevant question I thought some of you might be interested in. So, here’s his email followed by my reply.
A day early, but may you have the happiest of days on this milestone birthday, and many more to follow!
My other thought: and I raise this, not as a challenge to the well-known teachings of Jesus, but because quite often my logic-driven mind requires me to examine dimensions to an issue I haven’t yet seen addressed….
We are taught that the most important thing is to accept Jesus in our hearts—to understand, fully, what he did on the cross was for us and to surrender to his will. That to approach a relationship with God half-heartedly is not the key to salvation.
That being said, what is your understanding of the fate of people who, not for lack of trying, but due to normal developmental milestones—are never able to GET to that point? The mentally retarded, the infants, or, in many cases, even the children or adolescents, or non-enlightened adults?
And, to segue the above situations—what about all the levels in between what I might call “spiritual neutrality” and that of full acceptance, belief, and surrender?
I look at my own situation and realize that for 37 years, I never GOT it. I had an awareness of God and Jesus and professed to be a believer and a Christian, and I’ve always been a basically good, honest, hard-working, and caring person, who, —although admittedly a sinner—was never without remorse for them, and never outright REJECTED God. What would have been my fate had I died before last year—damnation, punishment? No salvation?
I guess I am troubled in the sense that I know SO many people, good, loving, close people, who aren’t “there” yet and aren’t likely to take steps to get there. Barry & Mari, what is your understanding–or what can you tell me has been written and/or taught about what is required for salvation, and what leeway is likely to be extended to those who are deserving, but where the real potential for a relationship with God never really “clicked in”, maybe partially due to the fact that we ARE imperfect souls?
Blessings on you both–
Sorry for the long delay in getting back to you, but your questions were too deep and too important to just answer off the top of my head. So after a few days of prayer and percolation this is what surfaced within me.
First of all, I know that I know that I know that our God is pure Mercy and pure Grace. Listen to what these few scriptures have to say:
In John 12:32, Jesus says “If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.” Acts 3:25, says in Abrahams seed all the families of earth shall be blessed.
Romans 5:19-20 says, “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men; even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.” “For as through one mans disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”
1 Corinthians 15:22 says, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.”
2 Corinthians 5:19 says, “Namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
Philippians 2: 9-11 says, “Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Ephesians 1:10 says, “with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth.”
Colossians 1:16-22 says, “For in Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”
1 Timothy 2:4 says, “Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 4:10 says, “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.”
Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.”
Hebrews 2:9 says, “But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for every one.”
2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
1 John 2:2 says, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”
So Dan what do you think, I know what I think, but what I think doesn’t seem to fit in with what I’ve been told by most of the teachers and preachers I’ve met over the last 30 years.
I think the picture is much bigger than we’ve been led to believe. And we’re just scratching the surface. Sometimes I feel like one of those little water spiders that are so small and so light that their little fuzzy feet don’t even break through the surface tension of the water they’re walking on. As I gaze down into the bottomless depths of God, I can feel the deep within Him calling unto the deep within me, and at last I can feel the surface tension dissolving from under my feet, and I’m sinking into His Being.
Romans 5:20 says “where sin abounded, Grace did much more abound.” So at this time it may seem like sin is the big “Bully Boy” on the block, but the truth of it is, Grace is even bigger. Sin may be running rampant for a time, but Grace will ultimately swallow it up, and sin will be no more.
Dan, thanks for your wonderful questions, they always make me dig deeper into “The Way, the Truth and the Life.”
Blessings on you