I know a man who has recently been released from prison. Understandably, his life is in a sad state of affairs. However, he does have something going for him – he is being ministered to by a number of Christians. These brothers and sisters are providing for him, driving him places, etc.
But still, he doesn’t want anything to do with Jesus. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that he thinks Christians, the only people who are truly caring for him, are idiots.
He has been a fool in his early days, a fool in middle age. And unless something changes, he will soon be an elderly fool…and then a fool for all eternity.
Just like these people in Revelation chapter 9…
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. Revelation 9:20 (ESV)
In the context, the world is blowing up all around them, and their only hope is to turn to the One True God…but like the man above in hopeless circumstances, they refuse. How sad.
And yet, all of us have been there. Paul writes to the Ephesians…
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV)
So what happened for us? Why are we different than the fools of Revelation or the foolish man I mentioned? Are we smarter, or more perceptive? What did we do right that these others did wrong?
Many people believe that the ultimate difference between the one man who is saved and the other man who is lost is that one had the insight and wisdom to receive the free gift of salvation, and the other man didn’t. Rarely do they phrase it this way, but almost always it comes down to this.
However, the teaching of Scripture is that our salvation did not come because of our own wisdom or keen insight to rightly choose the Way of Life. Instead, it was totally and completely a work of God…
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4 (ESV)
We were dead…but God made us alive. That’s the difference.
So all the glory goes to Him.
For Tuesday, December 15th: Revelation 10