In my previous post, we began looking at Mark Sandlin’s post, “10 Things You Can’t Say While Following Jesus”, and found that he was half correct, after a fashion. In this post, we’ll look at numbers 7 and 8 and see if the trend continues.
8) God never gives us more than we can handle.
Ever tried saying this to a person contemplating suicide? No? Well, of course not.
Why? Because it is just wrong.
It’s wrong for the reason that #10 is wrong and it’s wrong because factual circumstances of living prove that sometimes this life does bring with it more than we can handle.
Paging the Apostle Paul,
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)
As many times as I have struggled with such things in my life as pain, disappointment, and depression, because God has been faithful to his word and has used his Word to strengthen and inform me of the truth of what it is that I am living for.
Furthermore, Christ says,
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
So, if one is a believer and is speaking to a believer, one can say, very well, make that statement.
7) But for the grace of God, there go I.
Think about that for just a minute.
How about walking in the shoes you’re grateful not to be in for just a minute? Are they where they are because they lack the grace of God that others receive?
Does God pick and choose whom grace lands upon, intentionally withholding it from some people?
I know that people who say this don’t mean it that way, but that is what they are saying – even if indirectly. Feel free to be thankful for where you are but let’s stop heaping coals on other people’s shoulders – even if unintentionally.
Yes, absolutely, think about that statement.
Then ask, really, he has to ask the question? Has he not read the Scriptures? Paul, say something please,
In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:4c-6, emphasis added)
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30 ESV)
God absolutely chooses who he will place his grace upon. Look here,
I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. (Exodus 33:19b ESV)
Apparently, Reverend Sandlin’s God has no freedom. Reverend Sandlin’s God has to have, to paraphrase one theologian, “peanut-butter grace” that gets spread around. Reverend Sandlin’s God seems to be nothing more than a cosmic bellhop.
Christians have every right to make that that statement, though not arrogantly, but humbly and sincerely, because apart from God extending his grace and giving us to his son, Christ Jesus (John 6:35-40), we would still be under his wrath and destined for hell.
Well, that’s all that I can take for now. Next time, numbers 5 and 6.