A few minutes ago, I added the comment below to a post at Patrick Mead’s TentPegs blog (which I am pretty much addicted to):
Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6) As nearly as I can tell, He does not add, “… and to do so, one must read and fully comprehend all scripture, intuit or deduce correctly any doctrine implied therein, and live perfectly in accord with those and only those correct doctrines.”
Jesus is the Lord, the Righteous Judge (2 Timothy 4:1-8) of the living and the dead. God has mercy on whom He wills, and hardens whom He wills (Romans 9 and elsewhere).
We can’t tie His hands and force Him to save us by what we do. Nor can we imprison Him in a box of justice defined by our own judgment, making Him condemn those who aren’t as faithful or lucky or exposed-to-the-Word as we are.
He is, in a word, sovereign.
I trust Him.
My responsibility is not to save, but to seek; not to condemn others but to commend Christ; not to judge but to proclaim. I don’t have to know who’s in and who’s out.
You’re right, Patrick: All I have to do is tell the Story … live the Story … let the Story work its miracle within the listening and the searching and the willing.
All I have to do is lift up Christ and let Him draw all men closer to Himself.
And in retrospect, I realized again how I spend too much time and worry fretting over who’s saved and who’s not.
In John 21, Jesus tells Peter to follow Him, and gives him a glimpse at how his death will glorify his Lord. Peter gestures toward John: “What about him?” Jesus tells him to mind his own business. Gently, of course, and kindly; in that inimitable Jesus-way of His. “If I want him to live and write a gospel and some epistles and give him a spectacular pageant of the story of God and mankind start-to-finish, what concern is that of yours?” Okay, I’m taking great liberty with the text, but you know I’m getting the germ of it.
John’s salvation and destiny should be of no concern to Peter. It’s in His hands. Always has been. Always will be.
It’s not like Jesus can’t be trusted to judge. He bought our trust with His own blood.
So I find that, every once in a while when my faith is weak and my arrogance snarls, I really ought to be praying, “Lord, please don’t harden me. Don’t let the cause of someone else’s fall or salvation be my bad example.”
At the same time, when I remember Paul’s words to Timothy cited above, I need to recall that his words about the crown of life he is to be awarded are unequivocal and confident – confident in his Lord’s desire and power to save, not in anything he alone has done.
And I should pray, “Lord, may You empower me to mind my own business and be about Yours.”
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