Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)
TITLE: Two Paths to Eternity: An Annotated Parable
By Steve Fitschen
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“Adam Bryant, which path do you choose?” God asked.
“I choose the first path.”
“And Michael Christopher, which path do you choose?”
“I choose the second path.”
With that, God dismissed the two men to live their lives according to their choices.
It was appointed that Adam Bryant and Michael Christopher should die on the same day; and on that day, they appeared once more before God.1
“Adam Bryant, you chose the pebble path. As I explained to you, the pebbles represent your sins. You chose to rely on your own strength to cease your sinning and win my favor.2 If this jar is empty, you have succeeded and will spend eternity with Me. If your jar has any pebbles in it, your sins will separate you from Me forever.3
“Adam Bryant, come forward and look into your jar. What do you see?”
Adam Bryant hung his head. “I see pebbles, God.”
“Adam Bryant,” God said with a tear in His eye, “you chose the foolish way. Look around you. What do you see?”
For the first time, Adam Bryant noticed his surroundings. “I see jars uncountable in every direction.”
“These are the jars of every man, woman, and child who has ever chosen the pebble path. Look in them,” God instructed.
“God, God!” Adam Bryant exclaimed when he had finished his task. “Some of the jars are full! Some are full to overflowing. My jar had only a few pebbles in it. Surely, that is good enough.”
“Adam Bryant, the jar does not have to be full. Your path fails if the jar is not empty. A single pebble, a single sin, will cause separation. Did you find any jars that were empty?”
“That is correct, Adam Bryant. No one has ever obtained eternal life relying on his own strength.4 You must go now.”
Then God turned to Michael Christopher.
“Michael Christopher, even though you chose the other path, you have a jar, too. Look in it and tell me what you see.”
“I see pebbles.”
“Yes, Michael Christopher, that is correct. It is well for you that you chose the proxy path. You chose to rely on my divine Son.5 He emptied Himself6 and left Heaven to pay your penalty in full.7 It does not matter how many pebbles are in your jar. Michael Christopher, take your jar to that giant jar over there—my Son’s jar—and pour your pebbles into it.”8
Michael Christopher emptied his jar.
And God said, “Michael Christopher, enter into your rest.”9
1Job 14:5—“Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass”; Hebrews 9:27—“ And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
2“Adam Byrant” roughly means “Man’s Strength.”
3Isaiah 59:2a—“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God.”
4Romans 3:10—“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.”
5“Michael Christopher” roughly means “Who is Like God, the Christ-Bearer (or Christ-Bringer)?”
6This is the doctrine of the kenosis, the “emptying”: Philippians 2:6-7a—“who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men.
7The Philippians passage continues (2:7b-8): “And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.”
8Isaiah 53:6b—“And the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
9Hebrews 4:3a—“For we who have believed enter that rest.”
The Philippians passage from the NASB; all others KJV.
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