Luck. Blessing. Desire for truth

In a discussion with a friend about the state of the world, he said how lucky we were to have Jesus in our lives. I agree totally, also realising how difficult it can be to express that sentiment without using problematic terms like “luck”.

It could be avoided by replacing it with “blessed”, but I’ve also come to see that word overused and misapplied, to the extent that it dilutes understanding of what GENUINE blessings are.

Previously I’ve commented on the way that in affluent societies, so many of the things we designate as “blessings” may very well be thorns and weeds that choke the fruitfulness of God’s word out of our lives (see Mark 4) Our idea of blessing may differ significantly from God’s.

The idea of “luck” suggests chance or even worse, chance combined with “predestination” – as if we were fortunate to have our names pulled out of God’s salvation lottery hat, a very simplistic view that far too many people (like Calvinists) believe (though they probably wouldn’t like the way I described that belief).

It seems clear that there ARE so many seemingly “lucky”, random aspects to salvation and our response to it, including:

1) The religious culture of where we are born and raised.

2) Our parents’ attitudes to that religious culture.

3) The non-parental influences we face as we grow up

4) Personal experience and how we respond to it.

5) The availability of the gospel.

6) Our “mood” if and when we hear the gospel.

7) The quality of teaching and encouragement we receive after responding to the gospel.

It seems like some people can be more advantaged than others, to the extent that it doesn’t seem fair for those who don’t have the advantage of free access to the gospel.

In the past I’ve come across people who ask about the fate of those in other countries where Christianity is suppressed or absent in some other way; where conditions like those mentioned above are rarely favourable. That scenario is raised in a way that questions the validity of the gospel, because surely there’s no justice in someone’s eternal fate being dependant on their response to a message they never hear.

Some time ago I came to the conclusion that the key is a person’s desire for truth and that God WILL get the gospel to ANYONE who has a genuine desire for truth wherever they are, no matter what obstacles there seems to be.

And maybe there’s another perspective to consider. Should we recognise the “disadvantage” of having too much access to the gospel where the gospel seems to be freely available to all?
In that latter scenario it can be too easy for compromised messages and diluted gospels that aren’t really THE gospel to be adopted.

But again I see it is all dependent on a person’s genuine desire for the truth. It is that desire, and the integrity of an individual’s search for truth that makes the difference and ultimately protects him/her from the risk of false religions of all kinds, including secular/political alternatives such as nationalism.

10 thoughts on “Luck. Blessing. Desire for truth

  1. A thought exercise: What if, ultimately, Christian countries and countries where the gospel seems unavailable are the same in terms of numbers of or percentages of people who love the Creator?

  2. I’m beginning to think that’s a very good question. Especially when the means of becoming a “Christian” in the west has been reduced to a simplistic formula that in effect, for many, makes Christianity a mere life-style accessory. To many who become believers outside of “the west” the decision and conviction to turn to Jesus can be extremely disruptive to the lives they’ve known, and in some cases life threatening.

  3. “Some time ago I came to the conclusion that the key is a person’s desire for truth and that God WILL get the gospel to ANYONE who has a genuine desire for truth wherever they are, no matter what obstacles there seems to be.”

    Very much agree.

    Jesus is “The Truth:” and His “seek, and you will find” is open-ended Good News, to “whosoever will” seek Him. And if God is sovereign, His promise to Truth-seekers can’t be thwarted by circumstances…place of birth, native culture, or anything else.

    blessings, Steve

  4. His promise to Truth-seekers can’t be thwarted by circumstances…place of birth, native culture, or anything else.

    My AMEN to this could never be loud enough!

  5. Something distantly comparable to this topic is how few people that have called themselves conservatives for years or decades (and still do identify themselves as such) are showing themselves to have true values (such as decency, Constitution, love of the integrity of our country). There are a few.

  6. I think you’re right, Marleen. The conservatism many of us embraced in the ’60s, argued in Barry Goldwater’s book The Conscience of a Conservative, was a humanly-rational political ideal. There are still a few principled conservatives of that type, intelligent and rational, whose viewpoints are worth hearing, and worth considering. (David Brooks, New York Times editorialist and frequent guest on PBS and NPR news shows, is a personal favorite).

    John McCain is probably the best-known practicing conservative. I seldom agree with him, but have no question he’s a decent and honorable man, motivated by a desire to do what he believes is best for our country. (My regard for McCain has only increased with Trump’s repeated attacks on him.)

    The other (so-called) “conservatives” are harder to characterize. The only common thread of their grab-bag of “issues” seems to be insistence on their (own) “rights,” lack of honesty, and a desire for power.

    But I think “conservatives” all share the core belief (I cannot call it a PRINCIPLE) of their Great Founder, that “government is the problem.” The innumerable evils of “conservatism,” IMHO, are inevitable operations of the spirit of lawlessness, and spirit of rebellion. “Conservatism” seems very much a spiritual entity, of the enemy spirit.

  7. Hi, Tim:

    I’m quite gob-smacked !! that The Guardian characterizes America’s situation with the same word I did, “lawlessness.” I’m coming from the spiritual meaning of the word, of course (I John 3:4). But as you so rightly observed, “politics is not really about politics;” and I can believe that a truly perceptive secular observer might glimpse the operative SPIRIT behind America’s current political rulers.

    Or maybe some Guardian writer is also coming from a scriptural worldview ? As unlikely as that may seem, God has a history of planting His followers in unlikely places, for the working-out of His purposes.

    I very much doubt that Donald Trump is himself smart enough, or artful enough, to be identified with him: but any discussion of scriptural “lawlessness” has to take note that it seems II Thessalonians 2’s “man of lawlessness” is the person we usually call “the anti-Christ.” Perhaps Trump is a means of softening us up, so that a more shrewd and slick man of the same SPIRIT might be more widely popular, by his seeming-contrast ?

    blessings, Steve

  8. Hi Steve, like you I doubt that Trump “is himself smart enough, or artful enough” – but I see that the support of Trump throughout a large percentage of those identifying as “evangelical” shows how easily many of who profess Christ could (would?) be duped into supporting the ACTUAL man of lawlessness when he is finally revealed.

  9. Yes, I think that’s exactly the situation (in U.S. politics, anyway). Trump’s probably as CARNAL a man as anyone alive. It’s disturbing that some 80% of evangelicals could convince themselves that supporting such a man pleased and glorified God. But evangelicals supported Mitt Romney in 2012 at about the same rate: despite Romney’s deep devotion to a “faith” that teaches a different Jesus, a different gospel, from a different “Bible,” and claims to be the only TRUE “Church of Jesus Christ.”

    The great majority of evangelicals show themselves ready to follow any kind of evil, secular or spiritual, so long as it presents itself as “conservative.”

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