You don’t receive prizes if you don’t answer your phone. The prize of salvation is no different.
“Is it fair that God forgives the worst criminals as long as they repent at the very end of life but condemns a good and moral person who lives charitably toward others yet dies an unbeliever?”
Look at it like this:
There was a drawing for a giveaway and there are two winners. You just won one of the prizes. All you have to do is confirm your shipping address to receive your prize. By the way, you’re super fantastic, kind and charitable.
Now there’s also a criminal who also entered the giveaway. He also won. He also has to confirm his shipping address to receive his prize. It’s really an easy address – death row at the worst prison in the world.
As soon as the criminal receives the call, he stays on the line to confirm his shipping address, and it ships to him the same day (they’re using Amazon Prime apparently in this scenario.) Eventually he dies, but he still received his prize because he responded to and answered the call. He accepted his prize.
Once you’re informed that you won your prize, you hung up on the caller. They’ve called you back daily and you keep letting it go to voicemail because you’re not sure if the prize suits you and other days you just don’t care. One day, those calls will stop and it will be too late to claim your prize.
When the daily calls stop after years of ignoring the calls, texts and voicemails, you have the audacity to say the one who is trying to contact you is so unfair. Why? Because a criminal got a prize and you didn’t – nevermind he accepted his prize immediately and you ignored the daily calls to accept your gift, so it was left unclaimed when you suddenly died.
The prize of salvation has nothing to do with how good you are and 100% has to do with if you’re willing to answer the call and trust the one who calls you to receive your prize.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20
“But… but… that’s not fair! God is giving dead babies an unfair advantage over me!”
I can only imagine the eye-rolling going on in Heaven when God hears some of the absurd things that come from mens’ hearts in their ignorance.
I’ve noticed a strange trend – skeptics arguing not that God doesn’t exist, but that God is mean and unfair, one who doles out punishments and blessings on a whim. Interesting how a God who supposedly doesn’t exist is just a monster, supposedly, for letting too many dead babies into Heaven while we’re having to rep Jesus in enemy territory here on Earth. God is apparently the God of raw deals now.
This attitude is nothing new, and in fact, Jesus was dealing with people’s jealous foolery when He walked the earth. So let’s get in to today’s post:
“Question for Christians: why do babies that die at birth get to enjoy heaven for eternity without having to do anything while the rest of us have to prove our worthiness for almost 100 years? It doesn’t sound to me like God treats everyone equally.”
Nobody is worthy of being in God’s presence. Ever.
“10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:10-12
2. You don’t earn your salvation.
“8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
But now onto the heart of your question, which is summed up as such:
“Why do dead babies get to kick back with God while I’m busting my back in the daily grind of life?”
You reason that these dead babies have a God-given unfair advantage over you. Morbid, but the Bible actually addressed this line of human reasoning.
You see, some believed that it was unfair that while they may have had to live that Christian life and deal with all the drama of not being apart of the pagan or secular or Jewish crowd, it was straight NONSENSE that other people could convert and be saved up unto the point of their last breath. Basically, these Christians thought, “How dare those lazy tricks get to go to Heaven too! Can’t God see how much more I’ve toiled for Him? They’re not worthy of God like I am.”
Per usual, rather than being after God’s own heart, man points to his works to justify himself before God, rather than pointing to the work of the cross.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9
“21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” – Matthew 7:21-23
So anyway, back to Jesus. Jesus addressed these people, these so-called Christians, who were beside themselves with jealous rage that… other people were getting to spend eternity with God. Yeah. Let that sink in – Christians are mad that other people aren’t going to be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
Jesus responded to this attitude with a parable. We’ll jump into the middle of this parable for time’s sake:
“6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.” –Matthew 20:6-16
We serve a generous God. God absolutely treats you equal in that if you had died a baby, you too would have immediately gone to Heaven. Your accusation against God is akin to this:
Let’s say you were gifted a pair of shoes and another person also receives the exact same style, brand and size shoes that you were given. You wear your shoes and they become worn from years of daily use.
Now the other person returns the shoes to exchange them for a different, better pair within the store’s window of time for returns and exchanges, with the gift receipt.
Years later, when it comes time for new shoes, you can’t return or exchange your worn out shoes. The return and exchange period ended years ago for your shoes. You accuse the store of giving the other customer unfair, preferential treatment because they were able to exchange their shoes and you can’t.
Now that your return and exchange period has passed and you’re at the point where it would cost you to receive new, better shoes, you are angry. Nevermind that if you had exchanged your shoes during that window of time, you would have also received the better pair.
Those shoes are our bodies and the better pair are our glorified bodies. Both are a gift to you. If you haven’t reached the age of accountability at the time of your death, you are within the return and exchange period, so to speak. God applies this equally – it’s not as if babies born of only Christian parents go to heaven – all babies go to Heaven.
God has given you the gift of life and you have received what was promised to you. Don’t falsely accuse God of favortism for His goodness and generosity towards… dead babies.
I’ve never considered myself to be a religious person, but I’ve always considered myself a staunch believer in Christ Jesus as God. The pomp & circumstance of church never appealed to me but I still consider myself a Christian.
As it so happens, when people know that I’m a Christian but they themselves are not believers, the conversation tends to go like this: “I believe in something, but I don’t know what. I’m not an atheist but I’m a good person.”
What is this good person stuff about? It never made any sense to me why non-believers, 100% of the time, use this as a clarifier when describing their own religious inclinations to me.
I had a conversation in which a friend said, “I don’t believe Jesus is the only way to get into Heaven because I really can’t believe that a serial killer can get into Heaven just because he believes that Jesus is God and that all the Jews are going to Hell, even the ones that do good things.”
Like I said, I consider myself to be a Christian, so the idea that being a good person has anything to do with salvation is foreign to me, but I can explain why I believe the way that I do.
Imagine you’re on the shore of Massachusetts. You look east across the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. You want to make your way across the Atlantic Ocean to France. Lucky for you, you’ve trained as a swimmer your entire life. To up the ante, let’s just say you’re Michael Phelps and you’re wanting to swim across the Atlantic Ocean.
No matter how much you’ve trained, you’re not going to make it across the Atlantic Ocean by yourself. No matter how good of a swimmer you are, no matter how much you’ve trained or how dedicated and focused you are on accomplishing your goal, you will die in the ocean.
Unless you have a boat to save you, you will die. You will miss your mark and you will never make it to France.
You (as Michael Phelps) say, “This isn’t fair. I’m a great swimmer. I’m better than everybody else. In fact I have more gold medals in swimming so I’m the best in the world. I will make it to France because I’m a good swimmer.”
Never mind the fact that you’d die of fatigue, the elements, animal attack or hunger, and generally couldn’t accurately map a course while swimming across the ocean, you dive in and start swimming. Eventually, you succumb to one of the many obstacles and die in the ocean.
On the flip side, Benoît Lecomte jumps in and starts swimming. He has the same goal, to swim across the Atlantic. He wants to make it to the other side, but he knows that no matter how good of a swimmer he is, he can’t do it on his own. Lecomte decides that he’s bringing a boat. This boat is where he rests between swims, has food aboard and protects him from elements and animals. In 1998 Lecomte did just that – he swam across the Atlantic in 73 days and made it to the other side. He could never have accomplished his goal without the aid of a boat.
Now some may argue, “Hey, that’s not fair. Anybody could charter a boat and swim a couple hours a day until they ultimately reach the other side. Heck, they could do zero swimming and still reach the other side of the Atlantic with a boat. That’s not fair! You should have to be a good swimmer to be able to reach the other side. People who have trained all their life to swim and really care about this goal should be able to reach the other side, not just anybody who gets on a boat.”
When it comes down to it, your ability to swim or how hard and dedicated you were to swimming is not the deciding factor as to whether or not you will accomplish your goal. The only deciding factor is – Do You Have A Boat?
Just like in swimming, in life, how good you are according to your own personal, arbitrary standard is not the deciding factor as to whether or not you’re getting into Heaven. If Jesus is the only way to God, which I believe it is, He is your boat. If you want to make it to the other side, you have to get on the boat.