Chapter 15 – Conclusion: the Judge, the Servant King, and the Box Top
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There are two parables in the chapter, the judge and the servant king. Here is a synopsis of the servant king.80
This is exactly the problem God has in his pursuit of you and me – if he overwhelms us with his power we may not be free to love him) love and power are inversely related). And even if we retain our freedom, we may not love him but merely love what he gives us. What can God do? Here is what the king did:
The king, convinced he could not elevate the maiden without crushing her freedom, resolved to descend. He clothed himself as a beggar and approached her cottage incognito, with a worn cloak fluttering loosely about him. It was no mere disguise, but a new identity he took on. He renounced the throne to win her hand.
This is exactly what God did to win you and me! He descended to the human level – in fact to one of the lowest social levels possible – to that of a servant. Paul describes Christ’s sacrifice this way in his letter to the Philippians (2:5-8)
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!
Here are the answers to the five greatest questions we have.81
1. Origin: Where did we come from? We are created beings. Wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God.
2. Identity: Who are we? Since we are made in the image and likeness of God, we are creatures of supreme worth. We are loved by God and endowed with certain God-given rights and responsibilities.
3. Meaning: Why are we here? Adam and Eve were created in a state of innocence, but their choice to disobey condemned the human race to punishment in accordance with the infinite justice of God. Since that time, each of us has confirmed the choice of Adam and Eve through our own disobedience. We remain fallen state so that we can make free choices that will have implications in eternity. This temporal life is the choosing ground for the eternal one. Choices we can make that will bring glory to God, and may bring us eternal rewards, include:
a. Accepting the ransom Jesus paid in order to free us from eternal punishment and welcome us into his eternal presence.
b. Serving as ambassadors for Christ to help others make that same choice, and
c. Learning from our own sufferings to comfort others who suffer, and realizing that our sufferings enhance our own capacity to enjoy eternity.
4. Morality: How should we live? Since God first loved us, we should love him and others. In fact, the “whole duty of man” is to “fear God and keep his commandments”. This includes making disciples of all nations and enjoying the good things God gives us.
5. Destiny: Where are we going? God’s infinite justice demands that he punish our sins, but because of his infinite love he has taken the punishment on himself. This is the only way he could remain just and still justify sinners. His gift of salvation from eternal punishment is free to all the world. It cannot be earned through good works or any kind of merit. And God wants everyone to be saved from the eternal punishment we all deserve. But since he cannot force us to love him (forced love is a contradiction), each one of us must choose for ourselves whom we will serve.
Whom will you serve? God leaves that choice in your hands. Love knows no other way. In order to respect your free choice, God has made the evidence for Christianity convincing but not compelling. If you want to suppress or ignore the evidence all around you (Romans 1:18-20) – including that which is presented in this book – then you are free to do so. But that would be a volitional act, not a rational one. You can reject Christ, but you cannot honestly say there’s not enough evidence to believe in him.82
C.S. Lewis said it best when he wrote, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done, and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there would be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.”83
What do you think were the author’s best points in the book? What weak points did you find in the evidence presented in the book? What would you consider doing to decide if you agree or disagree with what the book is arguing?
I will continue to read and discuss books like these with an open mind. I hope you will too.
80Geisler & Turek page 380 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
81Geisler & Turek pages 383-384 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
82Geisler & Turek pages 384-385 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
83C.S. Lewis page 72 The Great Divorce.