This chapter us titled: “A Closer Look at Grace”
He begins with a story:
Wesley Allan Dodd tortured, molested, and murdered three boys in Vancouver, Washington, fifteen miles from our home. Dodd was scheduled to be hanged— the first U.S. hanging in three decades— shortly after midnight, January 4, 1993. At dinner that evening, both our daughters, then eleven and thirteen, prayed earnestly that Dodd would repent and place his faith in Christ before he died. I agreed with their prayer… but only because I knew I should. I stayed up and watched. Reporters from all over the country crowded around the prison. Twelve media representatives were firsthand witnesses to the execution. When they emerged thirty minutes after Dodd died, they recounted the experience. One of them read Dodd’s last words: “I had thought there was no hope and no peace. I was wrong. I have found hope and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Gasps and groans erupted from the gallery. The anger was palpable. “How dare someone who has done anything so terrible say he has found hope and peace in Jesus?” Did he really think God would let him into Heaven after what he’d done? “Shut up and go to hell, child killer— you won’t get off so easy!” The idea of God’s offering grace to Dodd was utterly offensive. And yet… didn’t Jesus die for Dodd’s sins just as He did for mine?
Interesting quote: (page 44) “No sin is bigger than the savior. Grace is, literally, not of this world.
End of opening illustration
Any thoughts about that or the rest of the chapter or book?
We are saved by grace for good works (Eph 2:10).
Read Matthew 20:1-16 and compare. In this illustration Jesus talks about the person who is hired last getting paid the same as the others. Read it, it is interesting. Our salvation is all about God and not us, though we are saved unto good works.
Here are some notes from the ESV Study Bible on Matthew 20:1-16:
Matt. 20:1 the kingdom of heaven is like. See note on 13:24. vineyard. Grapes were one of ancient Israel’s most important crops, and thus Israel was often referred to as the “vine” or “vineyard” of God (e.g., Isa. 5:1–7; Jer. 2:21; Hos. 10:1; cf. Matt. 21:28–46). “Vineyard” represents the activity of the kingdom in this world (cf. Matt. 21:28–46).
Matt. 20:2–15 denarius. A typical day’s wage for a laborer. third hour. 9:00 a.m. The workday was typically divided into four three-hour increments, running from approximately 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. eleventh hour. 5:00 p.m., near the end of the workday. These workers are desperate enough to continue waiting for work. each of them received a denarius. Surprisingly, the last laborers to be hired are paid a complete denarius, the same as those who had worked all day. Friend, I am doing you no wrong. The landowner addresses the worker gently, explaining the fairness of his actions. do you begrudge. Literally, “Is your eye evil?” The laborer failed to be thankful for his own wage because he was blinded by his self-interested lack of compassion for his fellow worker.
Matt. 20:16 So the last will be first, and the first last. A disciple of Jesus should not measure his or her worth by comparing it with the accomplishments and sacrifices of others, but should focus on serving from a heart of gratitude in response to God’s grace. Jesus is not denying degrees of reward in heaven (see note on 1 Cor. 3:14–15) but is affirming that God’s generosity is more abundant than anyone would expect: all the laborers except the very first got more than they deserved. It is probably correct also to see here a warning that Jesus’ early followers (such as the Twelve) should not despise those who would come later.
Anyways, I have written enough for today. Have a blessed week in the Lord!
Steve, I tend to feel for the early workers in the passage because it goes against the human definition of fairness even though I understand the meaning. I worked a full day and you worked an hour and we were paid the same. Where’s the motivation for me? The other passage I also have trouble with is the prodigal son; same thing, not fair in human terms. As the eldest child and the one closest to my parents, I understand how the older brother felt in the passage. I am here everyday helping you and you throw a party for the one who abandoned us for wild living? When did you throw me a party? Where is the fairness in that?
I would be interested to know if Meagan feels the same!
I think those verses of scripture are such a beautiful picture of God’s “compassion” for us in that He knew the needs of those men waiting and hoping for work and saw their willingness to spend the whole day waiting in hopes of being hired and so he rewarded them as though they had worked all day. God is so good! Also speaking of the “VINE” AND THE “VINEYARD” always takes to John 15 and Jesus painting the picture of the how He[Jesus] is the “VINE”, we are the branches and “THE FATHER” is the caretaker of the “VINEYARD”. if we are not attached to Him, we wither and die. Such a vivid picture for me as to how God has divinely ordained things to be. Thanks, and have a blessed day!