Through the Word in 2020 / March 3 – On whose terms?

We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from:

Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 22:1-14; Romans 2; Psalm 50, Numbers 5-6.

We love to have things on our own terms. Personalization and customization is the virtual lifeblood of all commerce today. “Have it your way” may be the tag line of but one fast-food chain but it is the key selling point by almost everyone competing for business – any business. We are addicted to having limitless options to choose from in everything from vacuum cleaners to cars, and yes, even religion. Not only do people want options when it comes to how they conceive of God, but which god they might wish to be connected with, which scriptures they prefer, when, where and how they worship – or even the option not to worship at all and still be spiritual etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum ad nauseam. Yes, we even want God on our own terms. We want God and the Church to cater to us, and not have to cater to Him and His ways.

And He’ll have none of it.

If Jesus’ parable in Matt. 14 tells us anything, it tells us this – ignore His invitation to come when He calls and for the purpose He calls – to honor His Son – and you risk eternal damnation.

You can’t have it your way.

For whatever reason you may not like God very much – you prefer Him to be different and so you don’t want to respond to His command to all men everywhere to repent – but that won’t fly in the judgment.

He sets the terms, we don’t.

Maybe you don’t like having to confess your utter sinfulness and need for salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone.

He sets the terms, we don’t.

Maybe you want God, but not Jesus, not His Church, not His Word. But like the last man in the parable, who wanted to be seen as honoring the King, but not appropriately honoring the Son by wearing the required garment of Jesus’ righteousness. In the end, that proves to be as damnable as outright rejection of the King that the first group in the parable demonstrated.

He sets the terms, we don’t.

In fact, this parable serves as an exposition of John 5:22–23 (ESV) — “For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”

No matter how religious one may claim to be, how “spiritual” or enlightened or whatever – apart from bowing the knee to Jesus Christ as Lord – there is no salvation. There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved.

He sets the terms, we don’t.

So, have you come to God on His terms, or imagined you can dictate your own? As one old divine once quipped: “He who would content himself with an imaginary Christ, must content himself with an imaginary salvation. ” We might well say he who would content himself with and imagined means of acceptance with God, will too have to content himself with an imaginary salvation.

He sets the terms, we don’t.

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