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Robert Farrar Capon on “Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen” (Trinity 20 – Matthew 22:1-14)

by pastorjuhl ~ October 16th, 2012

What then do I make of, “Many are called but few are chosen”? Just this. The sad truth of our fallen condition is that we don’t want anything to do with a system of salvation that works by grace through faith. We want our merits, sleazy though they may be, rewarded – and we want everybody else’s obviously raunchy behavior punished. We are like pitiful little bargain-hunters going to a used-car lot with $265 worth of hard-earned cash in our pockets and looking for the ultimate transport of delight. but just as we are about to give up and go away, the salesman comes up to us with a smile on his face. “You really want a car?” he whispers in our ear. “Come around to the back of the lot. Have I got a deal for you!” And back there, gleaming in the sun, is a brand-new Porsche. “It’s yours for free,” he says. “The boss just like you; here are the keys.”

Many are called: there is no one in the whole world, good, bad, or indifferent, who isn’t walked around to the back of the lot by the divine Salesman and offered heaven for nothing. But few are chosen: because you know what most of us do? First thing – before we so much as let ourselves sink into the leather upholstery or listen to the engine purr – we get suspicious. We walk around the car and kick the tires. We slam the doors. We jump up and down on the bumpers to test the shocks. And then, even if we do decide to take it, we start right in worrying about the warranty, fussing about the cost of insuring a sports car, and even – God help us – fuming about whether, if our no-good neighbor came in here,he might be offered a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud. But God doesn’t help us – at least not with all that tough-customer routine. He just sits up there in the front office and remains Mr. Giveaway, the Mad Dog Tyson of Parousia Motors, the Crazy Eddy of Eternity whose prices areinsane. He gives heaven to absolutely everybody: nothing down, no interest, no payments. And he makes hell absolutely unnecessary for anybody. The only catch is, you have to be as crazy as God to take the deal, because your every instinct will be to distrust such a cockamamy arrangement. You have to be willing to believe in an operation that would put any respectable God out of the deity business.

Which, nicely enough, lands us right back at the parable: a king who throws parties any other king would be ashamed of, representing a God who refuses to act like one; and a hell only for idiots who insist on being serious.

– “Kingdom, Grace, Judgment” p. 464-465

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