After the Pharisees failed to trap Jesus in his words about paying taxes, their rivals the Sadducees had their turn:
“That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?’
Jesus replied, ‘You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.’
When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.” ~ Matthew 22:23-33
Sometimes I wonder if we are often in error – even though we may know the Scriptures – because we do not know the power of God. Nor do we even try very hard to comprehend it. So we’re certain about things like:
- “If a person dies before he’s baptized – even if he’s heard and believed and repented and confessed and is on the way to the church and is killed in a car wreck – he’s lost and forever damned.”
Really? The God who held the sun still in the sky for a day can’t prevent or delay the death of someone who wants to be immersed into Christ before he can do so? The Son of God who stilled storms and calmed lakes can’t forgive a broken, desperate soul who recognizes His divinity … even if he’s being crucified a few arm’s-lengths away?
- “If a person doesn’t understand that she is being baptized for the remission of sins, her baptism counts for nothing and she is condemned to an eternity in hell.”
Oh? The God who knows the number of hairs on our heads and the number of IQ points inside them and the teachings we have been barraged with – for better or worse – by folks with the best of intentions teaching us at our churches … that God can’t credit the belief of such a faithful one (as He did with Abraham) as righteousness … or at least the deep desire for it?
- “If God is love and is not willing that any should perish, then eventually He will save everyone.”
Are you sure? Then, the God who obliterated all the evil tenants of the earth in a flood, ordered the herem-extermination of child-sacrificers, and whose Son spoke in no uncertain terms of the fates of those on His left and His right … they were just joshing? That there is only kindness and no severity to those who will not believe? That He is merciful, but not just; loving but not righteous? He doesn’t really have the power to be perfectly both? Because, as I understand it, it is impossible for Him to lie.
We could go on and on. (Many have.) If we did, we would probably still be arguing as much from our ignorance of Scriptures as of the power of God.
But I think we especially underestimate His power.
And that may help explain why we so seldom pray and let Him work through us as powerfully as Paul did:
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:20