Returning to the language I introduced earlier, I’m exploring how God introduces Himself, first to people who come to faith in familiar ways, followed by people who are progressively more ignorant of the salvation sequence we who are biblically literate know and are comfortable assessing. As I do this I’m proposing that Jesus demonstrates a broad array of how He does His redemptive work without compromising what He did to satisfy God’s standard of redemption.
It is easier to fit a biblically educated convert into a salvation box than it is a biblically ignorant convert. I’ve led people to faith in Jesus Christ who asked informed questions about God, Jesus, faith, salvation, and the Bible. There was also the Catholic lady who professed what I determined was valid faith in Jesus Christ but was utterly astounded when I prayed to Him. I also recall the convert from Judaism to Christianity who called from the bookstore where he had gone to purchase a Bible. Standing in front of a whole wall of Bibles, he said, “What the hell is it with all these Bibles? Before, when I went to buy a Torah, there was only one. What do I do?”
I’m comfortable with a familiar salvation story—like mine. I’m comfortable with a familiar rejection of salvation like my neighbor’s. I understand both processes in depth and can relate them to my experience and biblical understanding. However, the farther across the spectrum of humanity I move, the less I understand and the more questions I have to explore. When I move all the way to the end of the spectrum where the guy with the bow is shooting at airplanes, I’m virtually clueless about what’s transpiring with regard to his faith in the unknown deity of Jesus Christ.
However, just because I don’t understand, can’t relate, or can’t categorize a man’s acceptance or rejection of Jesus Christ doesn’t mean Jesus Christ has not introduced Himself to that man in a meaningful and legitimate manner. The mechanism of John 14:6 is clear. The management of its standard by Jesus Christ can be mysterious.
If Jesus Christ is the only way to God, and if God is truly just and fair regarding eternal salvation, then what each of us do with Jesus Christ is critical. It is eternally critical, in fact. How God makes the redemption that is available in Christ Jesus apparent across the spectrum of humanity appears to be as creative as the Creator Himself, but without compromise of either Jesus Christ or man’s eternal responsibility.
What God did in Jesus Christ is evident. How He goes about revealing redemption can be mysterious.
Finally, the whole line of thinking--all in one place--tomorrow.