Monday, November 21, 2005

Only True, Only False, or ?

Salvation comes from Justification, by Grace, through Faith – Only True, Only False, or ?

This past Sunday was Christ the King Sunday and the Lectionary had some very interesting readings. They confuse me.

First was from Ezekiel 34:11-17 “…’I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down,’ says the Lord God. ‘I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice. As for you, my flock,’ thus says the Lord God: ‘I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats’.”
Key in on “I will seek the lost … and … strengthen the weak.”

Second was from I Corinthians 15:20-28 “… for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then as his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For ‘God has put all things in subjection under his feet.’ But when it says ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.
Here key in on “for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order.”

Finally came the Gospel reading from Matthew 25: 31-46 “Jesus said, ‘when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as as a shepherd separated the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. … And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ … Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to the least of these you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life’.”
And finally pay close attention to “And these will go away into eternal punishment.”

I am, and have long been conflicted with regards to salvation. Who makes the “cut”? Personal opinion, and easily able to be argued as wrong is my thought that: “God loves his creation and will not be satisfied until His ENTIRE creation is redeemed.” Please note the emphasis on the word entire. But, that seems to be my experience with God. So why am I a Christian? What then is the purpose of Christianity? The above three passages seem to be in conflict with each other. “I will seek the lost”, “all will be made alive in Christ, but each in his own order.” And yet finally “these will go away into eternal punishment.” I can’t reconcile this and it seems strange that we read all three in the same daily Lectionary. Spoke to my Priest after the service (you can hear his Sermon on the passages here: ). It's worth the time to listen. He and I agreed that we would get together to discuss Salvation sometime. Strictly from a theological view, mind you.

We both agreed that as Christians we're saved. But, if that's the case, why work so hard following Christ's teaching? And if, God forbid, the Father seeks to redeem ALL, why worry about any of it? What's the reward, "Where's the beef?".

Somewhere in there faith and the human spirit's desire to do good, to love and to be loved and to be in community has to enter into the equation. My wife and I get into discussions about this from time to time (she's not theologically as liberal as I am though I'm the more socially and politically conservative). We have NOT reached consensus on this one, and I don't anticipate doing so any time soon. And, in the scope of life, why worry about it at all?

Don't really have an answer, I guess I'm just a person who likes to resolve issues and can't seem to get a handle on this one and as a result it bugs me. As does "Who shot JFK?". And I don't anticipate getting an answer to that question anytime soon either.


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