Tuesday, February 7, 2012

102. - Redemption Is A Serious Selection Process

102.0  Christian Redemption Is A Challenging Process: The great failing of the modern Church is Under-investment. Contrary to the pop-preaching of our time, the Redemptive Journey does require a high level of personal investment on the part of the believer. 

The Christian Redemptive Process does, indeed, involve two uncomplicated ingredients:  Determination (strong motive) and Stamina (sufficient vitality to finish the course).  But, it almost goes without saying, at this point, that neither of these elements exists within the nature of humanity in a measure sufficient to enable a successful completion.  But, that sufficiency, in both cases, does exist within the divine nature of the Living Christ.  

Thus, as previously discussed, through the believer's symbiotic relationship with the Living Christ, in His sufficiency, we are able to faithfully drive forward through the challenges of the authentic redemptive path (process) to actually experience the elevated life plane, a true and thorough newness of heart and life which is pleasing to God.  And, we are, indeed, required to do so.  

102.1 A Path of Serious Consequence

Nevertheless, obviously, not all who start, do actually succeed in completing the journey to a true and thorough personal newness in the Living Christ.  Some do, indeed, "lollygag." And, others choose to simply stop "growing" forward in Him and merely camp out somewhere along the redemptive pathway, in a kind of  apathetic stubbornness.  And, still others forsake the redemptive process altogether and return to their old self-directed lifestyle.

However, in the face of such temptations, it may help our resolve to remember that the redemptive process, at its core, also remains a very serious selection process.  In Matthew, chapter 22, Jesus tells a parable of a great King who prepared a wedding feast for His people which demonstrates this idea of selection. The end of the parable goes like this... 

"...Then he [the king]said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding. [Brackets Added]

" So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.

"So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And, he was speechless.

"Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen." 

The Concept of "Try Outs:"  

"...many are called, but few are chosen." - Jesus

In major league baseball, there is something called, "try outs." These try outs are generally open to the public; and, anyone wishing to go out for a major league team is allowed to do so. 

However, "going out for the team" is not the same as making the team. To be selected for the team involves a performance factor. So, while the invitation is open to all, the result is entirely decided by the player's performance.

The point is this. We easily embrace this concept of selection when it comes to sports, etc. But, it seems we are typically very reluctant to accept such an idea in regard to the Christian redemptive process. 

Nevertheless, it is this reality which drives the statement in the preceding parable that, "many are called, but few are chosen." The indication here, and in many places in the New Testament, is that it is ultimately God who will be doing the choosing, not us. 

And, in fact, this time, this world, this physical dimension of life is but our "try out" opportunity.  It is intended to expose those of true devotion, the people who are willing to truly embrace the empowering Lordship of Christ in their lives - including His values, His truth, and His daily life-directions.  And, it is true, all who fail to embrace and employ the sufficiency of the Living Christ to  successfully come to a new, God-pleasing heart and life will, indeed, fail this  "try-out opportunity."

So, it actually is perilous to the human soul to ever move far from the awareness that we are, indeed, involved in a truly stringent  selection process.  And, to approach the redemptive process with casualness or indifference is to guarantee that we will fail that selection process.

The Path is the Path

The rigors involved in taking The Authentic Redemptive Path, 
this elevated and very elevating path, may fly in the face of modern pop-preaching and our more contemporary sense of what is desirable. But, that very ancient Path takes no note, whatsoever, of our modern druthers.  

It does not change because we judge it to be, "too demanding."  It is The PathAnd, even in this New Testament age, it continues to involve a good-faith investment, and a very expectant divine scrutiny.  

And certainly, it is a loving scrutiny, always accompanied by the offer of divine empowerment in the Living Christ.  But, what God's love is not, and will never be, is dismissive of the requirement of a sincere investment in the divine friendship and the redemptive process upon which that friendship is based.  

And, that is why the statement remains true.  Indeed, "many are called, but few are chosen."  And, that is also why the process fits this description, which Jesus offered in the New Testament,  "...strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it."  

Truly, Christian redemption is a process.  And, it absolutely involves divine selection.  And that selection is stringently based in the divine expectation of a proficient renewal of the believer's heart and life flowing out of the sufficiency of the Living Christ