Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 28, 2014 – Matthew 20 – God's Grace

Below are my thoughts from the daily Bible reading of the West Side Church of Christ. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word. Also above in the tabs is a link to the Bible reading plan.

What Does this Passage Say?
  • Jesus has completely rejected the standards of the Pharisees. He has spoken and taught in ways that others do not. Now as He seeks to establish His kingdom, He is about to go above and beyond what man deems as fair. He illustrates that with a story about a land owner hiring men. In a lot of cultures throughout the world the poor often find work each day instead of having a steady job. They go to the market place and an employer hires them for a predetermined and agreed upon wage. The worker is then paid at the end of the day. Throughout the day In Jesus story more men are added to the workforce. When the day is over, the employer decides to be generous and pays all hired men the same wage regardless of the time they have put in.
  • This angers the men who have been present all day. Jesus compares this decision to be generous to the grace that comes from Christ. It is a teaching that many Christians struggle with, especially those who have been faithful for many years. We often wander why someone who gives a death bed confession is rewarded with the same gift of eternity that the lifelong follower of Jesus is given? We miss the grace that God has chosen to bestow upon mankind.

 What is this passage teaching?
  • God’s grace and forgiveness is for Him to decide. It is God who chose to give grace and salvation to mankind regardless of when they chose Him. It is God who elevates to the proper place in His kingdom, not necessarily Jesus. It is God who heals the pains of this life. This passage is teaching and reminding us that God is in control, and that God has chosen compassion and grace.

How can I apply this passage to my life?
  • One thing I struggle with is people who want the worst for those who have done horrible things. Do not misread me … I am not advocating that there should not be consequences for a man’s sins and the crimes he commits against another man. My argument here is completely about the man’s eternal resting place. It is not for me to decide who God pours His grace upon. Whether it is a man who has lived his entire life following God, or a man who comes to Jesus after doing horrible things, I want all mankind to know and experience the Kingdom of Heaven.

Examine your heart and ask yourself these questions. Do I believe a person as evil as Adolf Hitler should be in Heaven? Do I watch a murder trial like 2013 trail of George Zimmerman and wish the worst for him? Do I see a sexual predator and desire for him to spend eternity in Hell? I am not saying there should not be consequences for these men and their actions. For the crimes committed on earth there should be consequences for those crimes, and I am even ok with the ultimate punishment of death. But at the same time it breaks my heart to know that any person, regardless of the life they have lived, has the chance of spending eternity without God and not in the Kingdom of Heaven. If it does not break your heart that these and others like them may spend eternity in Hell, I believe this is an area you need to start praying about. God’s grace is for all mankind regardless of the wrongs one has committed. 

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