Refusing Redemption

July 27, 2012

Friends,
The King sends out His servants to those who have been invited to the wedding banquet of His Son (Matt. 22:1-3) to remind them of the invitation and that it is time to repent and receive the Covenant of forgiveness and betrothal. These servants obey and go out, climbing over hills and fording rushing streams, searching for those invited sheep, some who have lost their way, lost their focus, or even lost their senses. All those who have not yet received the message that all are indeed invited, are given a personal invitation. Truly, the servants are excited, expectant, and ready to bring them in herds to the palace of the King.

But a strange thing happens. Some sheep, even though they, like the rest, are bleating with fear or anguish or lust or loneliness, cannot understand the servants’ words to them. They swat at them as though they are hearing flies buzzing about their ears, but they will not stop what they’re doing in order to really listen. (v. 5) Others hear clearly but just say, “No thanks. I’m busy.” (See v. 3) And off they trot (v. 5) –or hobble– whatever their case is, all the while crying or whimpering, even through their fake laughter and exaggerated boastings.

Then there are other sheep who are cruel. They kick at the servants, bite them, and gather groups together to stampede over the King’s servants. Some servants even die this way. (v. 6)

In spite of the risks and rejections, the King’s servants keep going. They often follow the sound of the cries which echo through canyons and up from hidden valleys. They find many sheep this way, some torn and bleeding on the sides of cliffs, about to plunge to their death, others wedged tightly between boulders, prisoners left as food for the jackals. Most of these gratefully accept help, and many receive the invitation to the wedding banquet with joy, even rushing after their guides to meet the King’s kind Son who gives them the new clothing of His Spirit to wear. (John 1:33 // Rom. 13:14)

Unfortunately though, there are many sheep who, upon hearing of the invitation, refuse it only to later sneak to the Palace by a different way. (John 10:1) This they do because they do not want to meet the King’s Son, for they like wearing their old, unholy clothes –even though they also desire the promised security of the King’s Palace. Foolish sheep these are, though, for their dirty clothes are obvious in the wedding hall amongst all the others who shine white and clean. (Matt. 22:10 // Rev. 19:7,8) So “when the King comes in to see the guests” (see Matt. 22:11), these sheep who refused to come by way of the Son, are questioned, and having no excuse (v. 12 // Heb. 2:3), the King orders them bound and throw outside into the darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 22:13) For though all are given grace and opportunity (John 3:16 & 12:32 // 2 Cor. 5:14,15 // 1 Tim. 2:3-6 // 1 John 2:2), only those who have continued to submit to wearing the Son’s clothing are chosen. (Matt. 22:14 // Eph. 4:22-24 // Rom. 8:13)

It is truly grievous that so many sheep refuse to accept the wedding invitation or to come according to the rules (2 Tim. 2:5) –which is to be washed inside and out, to accept the change of clothing, and to walk obedient to the King’s commands within that new clothing. Even while some of the King’s servants are so exceedingly kind that they return over and over to the lost and rebellious sheep, trying repeatedly to compel them to come to the King’s Son who has all power to help them, these sheep refuse. They refuse the redemption. They scoff at their need –even while their coats are disheveled and blood-soaked, even while they grope about blindly, even while they know there’s a chain of distress attached to their glittering idols.

“It’s hopeless,” these sheep say. (Jer. 2:25) “For we love falsehoods, worldliness, and sin, and each of us must go after these, as well as our own plans as we follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.” (See same verse w/ 18:12) Indeed, they have no energy to rise and walk into the freedom, the cure, the forgiveness, the healing, for “they have wearied themselves with sinning.” (See 9:5) Therefore, no matter how much of the King’s love is shown to them through His servants, through His patience, through the cups of living water brought to them along with the portions of choice food from the King’s own table, these sheep accept, at the most, only a tiny taste and then insist on going back to their meals of garbage.

Sadly, even shockingly, these sheep have continued to deliberately hold on to the ultimate foolishness –that of refusing redemption.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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