Chose

Choose

But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: Lord, who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?” But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said, “The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts— so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.” Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. (John 12:37-41)

Read: Ezekiel 44:1 – 46:24

Relate: Earlier in His ministry, Jesus told a parable of two men who died,. The first was a rich man named Barabbas and the second man was poor Lazarus. These two men knew each other in life only because Barabbas allowed Lazarus to dig through his trash in hopes of finding something for dinner. After they both died, a role reversal of Biblical proportions had occurred. Now rich Barabbas was stuck in the torture and torment of hell as Lazarus was chillaxin in heaven. Barabbas didn’t like this situation and asked for an out. When that wasn’t given he asked for some relief. Again he was denied. Finally he asked that someone would go to his brothers who are still alive and warn them. He didn’t want to be stuck next door to them in hell for eternity. (Forgive this loose paraphrase. For a more literal rendering of the story check out Luke’s version.)

Abraham responded to Barabbas’ request, “They can read all about it. The men who wrote the Bible have already given warning.” Rich Barabbas replied back, “That isn’t enough. But if someone from the dead went and visited them, then they would believe.” To this Abraham answered, “Nope. If they won’t read what is written in scripture, they wouldn’t believe even if someone was raised from the dead.”

Someone was raised from the dead. When Jesus is here in Jerusalem just days before He would die and then be raised, most of the crowd still did not believe in him. Right there in the suburbs is a guy named Lazarus that many of them have met and nearly all of them have heard of. He spent days in the grave building up a stink before Jesus said, “Lazarus, come on out.” All around town are people who used to be blind but now can see, deaf who can now hear, and leprous who are now clean. There are sharply dressed, respectable men walking around who used to be running around naked in graveyards, demon possessed and beating up anyone who got too close. There’s that former cripple who keeps bumping into everyone because he likes to skip around town instead of walking like everybody else.

React: So what will it take for you to believe? What is your “if only God…”? Forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical. The truth is, the truth is. If you chose not to believe the truth that’s your own damned fault. Yes, I said damned. The truth is all around you, it has been written and collected into a book that has been more prolifically spread around the world than any other hundred books combined. If you chose not to believe, if you prefer stubborn and willful ignorance, then damned is exactly what you are. I wish it were not so. God wishes it were not so, but He has given you the freedom to chose. If you waste that freedom on stupidly choosing to ignore His sacrifice, His grace and His mercy then you have nobody to blame. You stand condemned.

Respond: 

God, I surrender. I admit that I am a sinner in desperate need of You. I recognize that there is no possible way for me to successfully navigate the challenges and temptations of this life without You. I’ve tried. I’ve failed. So now I’m turning the controls over to You. Jesus, You are God. I acknowledge this and I acknowledge that You alone have provided a way for me to have access to You. Forgive my failed and stupid attempts to try and run my life my own way. Let Your grace cover over my failure. Come and live in me. Come and live through me. I believe in You. I trust in You. I surrender to You.

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11 thoughts on “Chose

    • Actually, the message is addressed to people who think they are believers. Remember, it is to the church that Jesus says, “I stand at the door and knock.” It is people who think they are secure in their Christianity yet continue to live in sin who will be most surprised on judgment day.

  1. I love this song surrender I have been ministered too by the LORD as I’ve surrendered daily to His will. It is beautiful! God Bless x

  2. I think this is good proof you worship a false, evil god. This evil deity demands you believe and punishes skepticism. Worse, he blinds people so they don’t see, yet you blame the ‘sinner’ for not seeing anyway.

    If you saw something miraculous that is claimed to be from another god, wouldn’t you be skeptical? It could be a trick. Magicians use sophisticated slight-of-hand and any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Yet your god condemns those people that don’t fall for miracles right away.

    Then we’re supposed to believe some written record, as if written records sans physical evidence are ever enough to believe anything. There are even more ancient records of Hinduism and Buddhism. Why don’t you believe those? Yet your insecure deity demands us believe written things from this other region or ELSE! Instead of coming to each if us individually, he condemns us for being skeptical. Punishing us for using our brains to the best of our ability. That’s the action if a parent who needs to have their child taken away.

    All these pathetic threat attempts sounds like they come from people to keep other people in line. Scare tactics like this belong with tyrants and bullies, and can never help us find truth.

    Give me truth, not threats.

    • Thank you for reading and your comments both here and on Out of Time. I truly do appreciate when someone of a differing opinion is willing to step forward and disagree with what I’ve written. It is an opportunity for all of us to grow in wisdom and knowledge. Because I love to encourage dialogue and try not to dominate the comments area I will do my best to wait 24 hours before responding so that some of my other readers can enter in the discussion.
      Best regards.
      BJ

    • Thanks for your response. I’ll post a reply there, but I can say you already missed the point of the atheist. They don’t blame god – but point out the contradiction of claims about god. Never is it a claim that god causes people to be evil. But again, I’ll post a fuller response there when I actually get to sit at a computer.

    • I really enjoy your style and argument

      (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4) 3 If, in fact, the good news we declare is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, 4 among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through. . .

      So immediately we have your point emphasised there is a God who blinds people – that blindness and confusion creates the illusion of a God who punishes people just because he can, a very shallow and cruel approach.

      How does God feel about sceptics or those who doubt? (Jude 22, 23) “22 Also, continue showing mercy to some who have doubts; 23 save them . . .”

      When Thomas required evidence Jesus didn’t condemn him he showed him the physical evidence.

      SO you raise a valuable point note what the disciple James had to say: (James 1:13-15) 13 When under trial, let no one say: “I am being tried by God.” For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone. 14 But each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn sin, when it has been carried out, brings forth death.

      Our individual state requires consideration, our perception and understanding of our relationship with God requires a review, most importantly the level of evidence we individually require is out there but it is up to each of us to draw that information together.

      You can’t convert another to Christianity they have to do it for themselves but the first step to supporting their personal journey is share the Good News.

      So God hasn’t condemned anyone – the consequence of sin is death – it is not punishment (only Adam and Eve were told that it was their punishment) because the Son of God can, as Romans 16:20 says crush the works of the Devil – the God of this system.

      • Trotter387, thanks for replying. I do have to say though, that you are very wrong on your last statement.

        God has condemned. He condemns everyone. According to your mythology it was his choice and his setup. He decided the consequences and still let two gullible humans, who were without the ‘knowledge of good and evil’, to be deceived. Then he condemns them for not choosing right. Not just them but everyone and everything.

        It’s not just some system your god has no control over. He designed it. Thus by nature, he condemns everyone from birth. If you want to believe, fine. But be honest with yourself. God condemns and he condemns us because we have no choice but to sin in his system.

        It’s twisted when the judge cripples you and then demands a perfect performance on pain of torture and death.

        • I would fully agree with what you are saying exactly if I also did not understand two related truths: 1) God doesn’t send people to hell, they chose to go there. 2) What makes hell hell is the absence of the presence of God. All the torture and fire and brimstone stuff, that is simply a metaphor for what existence is like when God finally gives us what so many are asking for… Him completely out of their life.

          I wrote on the story of Barabbas and Lazarus. What I did not mention above is that Barabbas never changed. He asked for escape and relief, but even when in hell Barabbas was still acting as though Lazarus was a slave he could order around. He never said I am sorry for what I have done. He never repented.

          You mentioned Adam and Eve. I always have wondered what would have happened if after eating they came to God and said, “We messed up and we’re really sorry.” No. What they did was run and hide from the presence of God. Even when confronted they didn’t fess up but played the blame game. What made the garden the Garden was not the pretty flowers, picturesque views, and tasty fruit. What made it Eden was that it was where Adam and Eve regularly met with God. They both demonstrated by their sin and after their sin that they no longer wanted this connection. It was *their* choice.

          God is not willing that any should perish. I could tell you story after story of Muslims who had visions of Jesus, or seen/experienced something along the way of the miraculous. These are genuine seekers for whom such an event really did make a difference. God knows our hearts and for those to whom it really would change things, He does intervene. The thing is, most people don’t really want to change. Their demand for miraculous “evidence” is really just a shallow excuse to continue living a life ignoring its Maker.

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