February 18, 2015

Matthew 11:27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No-one knows the Son except the Father, and no-one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

This is a really heavy verse. If it weren’t for God’s incredibly merciful nature, we all might as well just hang it up. We can’t know all the ins and outs of God’s salvation and His choosing people for salvation. Tremendous fights have been fought within the Church over predestination and free will, God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, and the ultimate answer is, we don’t know. The thing is, if we’re worried about it, that in itself is an indication that God is calling us to Himself. Immediately after this Jesus gave His very famous invitation to “all who are weary and heavy laden.” That sounds pretty inclusive to me! At the same time, it takes throwing out a major part of the Bible to teach Universalism, that is, that everyone ultimately gets saved. The idea of Purgatory is a human construct (which even the Catholic Church has now acknowledged and discarded) to give people a way to think they could earn their way, or their loved ones’ way, into heaven. The problem is, it’s nowhere in the Bible. We are left with total dependence on the grace of God and a powerful motivation to give everyone the opportunity to accept that grace. If we don’t tell them the Gospel, who will?

This is, of course, a consuming issue for me as I minister in Japan, where at least 98% of the people around me don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior. At times I am frankly tempted to throw in the towel, but the prospect of just one more turning to Christ keeps me from doing it. It is heartbreaking when people with whom we’ve been sharing Christ for years die without acknowledging Him, but it is joy indeed when other people accept God’s free gift of salvation. Just this week we lost another friend of over 30 years, without the expectation of meeting her before the Throne, but when we went to the home last night we were able to minister to two of her daughters and one of her granddaughters, so we continue to pray for the family. It is an incredible privilege to be an instrument of God’s salvation, but I must never think for a moment that the salvation is mine to bestow. I am as dependent on God’s grace and mercy as are those to whom I minister. I am to rest, relax, and rejoice in Him, submitting my will to Him so that His will may be done in and through me, for His glory.

Father, thank You for Your grace. Thank You for being able to express it to the family last night. I do pray that each of the children and grandchildren would remember the Word they have heard and allow it to work in them. I pray that we would not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9) but would fully discharge every task, every responsibility, every opportunity You give us, so that as many as possible would be saved and You would be glorified. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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