USE YOUR COMMON SENSE
"'You don't have to be a genius to understand these things. Just use your common sense, the kind you'd use if, while being taken to court, you decided to settle up with your accuser on the way, knowing that if the case went to the judge, you'd probably go to jail and pay every last penny of the fine. That's the kind of decision I'm asking you to make.'" Luke 12:57-59 (The Message).
Who would be fool enough to risk going to jail just because you neglected to settle your issue with your accuser out of court? No-one wants a jail sentence as well as the criminal record that goes with it if it can be avoided.
Why is it, then, that people neglect to secure their eternal destiny before the final curtain comes down? How foolish is the idea that we can live as we like and then repent at the last minute before we die? Do we really think that we can trifle with God's mercy like that? How much common sense do we need to secure our future before we are no longer able to do so?
Of course Jesus was not dealing here with motive but with outcome. It would be bottom of the list to accept His offer of forgiveness and the hope of eternal life just to escape the punishment of hell but, unfortunately, the gospel is often presented as an escape route from hell nowadays. Bumper stickers on cars say it all - "Hell has no fire escape," to quote just one of them.
This is not the most important reason to return to the most precious and wonderful of relationships that God intended for us - sonship. Imagine dutifully doing everything your earthly father required of you just to escape punishment! What a heartless and loveless experience that would be! Jesus calls us to return to Him because His passion is to take us to the Father who loves us with an everlasting love. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me." John14:6 (NIV).
Why did Jesus encourage His hearers to use their common sense? Was He aware that we are so self-centred that we will do anything to ensure our own comfort and convenience? Returning to the Father to save our own bacon could be the beginning of a walk that would eventually take us deeper into a love relationship with Him.
Perhaps Jesus is not as concerned about how we get started as He is about getting on to the road so that we can learn to walk with Him on this journey toward freedom and wholeness. Perhaps the problem is not so much getting started as it is persuading us that He is the truth and that His way is the only way to experience the fullness of life that God has promised those who put their trust in Jesus.
How difficult it is for people to abandon their false belief system which holds them captive through fear, to embrace the Father's love and mercy revealed in Jesus, His Son. They would rather hold onto something that has no foundation in fact and no historical or experiential proof of its reality than entrust themselves to one who predicted that He would be crucified and would rise again, and did it just as He said. Is the fanciful imagination of some human being that creates a religion based on human nature or man's wisdom more reliable than the infallible word of the eternal God who came in person to tell us the truth? The proof that this life is real is God's peace in the heart that has no human explanation.
Once again, you choose!
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