Leave The Saving Up To God
The Gospel is like, the worst good news I've ever heard in my life. - Nadia Bolz-Weber
I was having a heated discussion with a friend of mine several years ago about who gets "to go to heaven," when I finally said something that drove him to a frustrated silence.
The whole discussion started over a divergence in our views about how God rescues those whom God loves. You see, my friend had a pretty narrow understanding of how that worked, including the kinds of words that needed to be said in order to achieve salvation and eventual entry into heaven.
As the conversation grew more pointed, I found myself having to defend my beliefs, which were grounded in a bit more mystery than my friend's. I favor a view that leaves the saving work up to God, who is infinitely more grace-filled and merciful than me.
So, what I said to him was this: "If you get to heaven---after everything is said and done---and you find Gandhi there playing tennis, are you going to be upset?"
That kind of killed the debate.
Here's the thing, the main reason why I choose to leave the saving up to God is that I'm not especially good at mercy. The fact is, there are a lot of people in this world I'd rather not spend eternity with.
So, for me to submit my will to the mysterious, radical nature of God's grace is a step in the right direction of being the kind of person God wants me to be. It calls me to faithfulness, even when I struggle to be faithful.
Author and public theologian Nadia Bolz-Weber puts it like this:
But this Jesus thing is a double-edged sword. Because as much as I treasure the comfort of being seen by God-made-flesh, forgiven and freed from harmful designations, I also resent having to extend the same to those I dislike.Honestly, I think that most of the "inside/outside" mentality that has blemished the Christian witness in our culture is grounded in our reluctance to extend grace to people we with whom we have fundamental differences.
We are called to more. The Gospel is bigger than that. The Good News is truly good news for everyone.
May it be so for you, and may you strive to be faithful in your own witness and surrender the saving to God---leaving you to love and be merciful. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.