From chapters 9 – 11 of Romans, Paul wrestles with the mysteries of pre-destination. Finally at the end he seems almost to throw his hands up in the air and admit he can’t explain it. This reaction seems triggered by the remarkable conclusion he comes to in Romans 11:32:
“For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.”
I was listening to Luke 7 in the car on the way to work and struck again by the words Jesus spoke to Simon the Pharisee:
“..to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” (Luke 7:47)
I believe now that the reason Jesus gave the Pharisees such a hard time was to make them realise, if at all possible, that they were just as bad as any prostitute. Only by realising this could they be forgiven much and so love much. In the light of the infinite holiness of God, we are all sinners to the same degree. It is just that some of us have a hard time realising it.
Blessed is the man or woman who is forgiven much (Psalm 32:1).
God has been doing a mighty work in Ireland shaking everything that can be shaken so that that which cannot be shaken – the Kingdom of God – may remain and, indeed, expand greatly. The powers of institutional religion and the intertwined government that ruled this country for decades have been broken and a spiritual vacumn has been left in their wake. This vacumn is felt at both a national and personal level in many peoples lives. Many now wonder how to bring up their children, where to centre their lives.
It is for them that Jesus wants Himself to be made known through His Church – not the so called church built on the corrupt religiosity of hypocritical men whose consciences were seared as with an hot iron (1 Tim. 4:2). These men and women covered up and even carried out unspeakable things. But this is not the Church of Christ, a Church that reflects the forgiving and welcoming holiness of God built on the only foundation worth building, on that of the Word of God (Matt. 16:18).
There is such a Church in this country. It contains a small percentage of the population and has a diverse and geographically separated expression in many local assemblies throughout the country. Now is the time for these to shine like beacons on a hill.
Never in living history in this land has it been so open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
All those who have a personal relationship with Jesus need to seek His will so that we can grasp this opportunity with both hands. The window of opportunity will not stay open for long. At the end of this period, Ireland will go one of two directions, either into the pagan syncretism of countries like Portugal and Italy or the evangelised hope of countries like Bolivia and Brazil.