Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Throughout history it is deeply engrained in human thinking that salvation is initially dependant on human initiative. Nothing happens until like the prodigal son we say, "I will arise and go.” But did Jesus teach that the salvation of the prodigal son was due to his own initiative? In eternity, will he boast, "I'm here because I came home”? Or will he thank God for his father's love that spoke hope to his heart even while he was sitting in the pigsty? Was it is his own initiative that drove him to "arise and go” or was it the drawing of that love?
It appears that the teaching of Jesus was clear that "If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32). He did not teach that those who are saved at last are those who come under their own self-starter power.
No Bible character was in a more hopeless condition of failure and frustration than Sarai, wife of Abram. She desperately prayed for 25 years that God's will be done in her life to get her pregnant. She knew it was the will of God, but nothing happened, only failure. She was bitter; and before you condemn her, put yourself in her place. We learn an interesting lesson in reading of what the Lord did for her.
He did NOT tell her, "When you straighten yourself up and stop being angry with Me, then I will enable you to get pregnant!” Rather He spoke New Covenant Good News to her soul; and all she did was listen. There was nothing she COULD do but listen and believe! (And that, incidentally, is exactly the meaning of the Hebrew word for "obey” in Exodus 19:5.) The Lord gave her the glorious Good News that her name was changed to "Princess,” He promised to make her "a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her” (Gen. 17:16), and the naked Good News itself changed her heart! The Good News in that New Covenant promise reconciled her alienated heart to God. Yes, she believed; but look again, the initiative was taken by God.
By the way, what can the dead do on the resurrection day to help resurrect themselves? Or is their part simply to "hear His voice, and come forth”? (John 5:28, 29). For sure, that "voice” is going to be glorious Good News, isn't it? Maybe we should start learning how to "listen” to it now.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 26, 2003.
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