Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Didn't Win the Lottery

I often struggle with the way traditional Christianity has claimed that “salvation and going to heaven is the greatest deal on earth.”

According to this line of thinking, only the lucky, the blessed, the preordained who agree with me (whoever “me” happens to be) get a country club estate along one of heaven’s finest avenues.

I’m sorry, but I didn’t win the lottery when God gave me the gift of faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Instead, God “won” me by paying the steepest price possible. And He paid that price for everyone (1 John 2:2), not just me.

Please hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that in the end everyone will be saved. I’m also not saying that I don’t rejoice that God has promised heaven when Jesus returns (for me when I die or for all of us in one fell swoop, if He so chooses during my lifetime). Scripture is clear that Jesus commanded 72 of His disciples to “rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Believe me, on my good days I find that one of the easiest commands to obey.

But I don’t rejoice in my salvation and future in heaven in a worldly, juvenile sort of way as if I’ve won the lottery — and as if “you and you and you” haven’t (insert plenty of attitude here).

The same Jesus who said “rejoice” also wept over those who rejected God’s gracious gift of faith, mercy, grace, and salvation from the coming judgment here on earth (at the hands of the Roman Empire) and even greater judgment beyond this life (at the hands of the Almighty Creator and Governor of the universe).

No, I didn’t win the lottery. Instead, I received something infinitely better when God gave me the gift of faith and brought me to my knees. And the same God who saved me doesn’t want anyone else to perish. Instead, He wants all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

I know many will reject Jesus Christ to their dying day. But I’ve seen too many saved in their dying days to believe God somehow stops caring about the unrepentant after age 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 or 90 or 100.

Never give into the fear that one of your loved ones or friends hasn’t won the heavenly lottery yet. No one ever has — or ever will.

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