June 4, 2007
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend,

    Salvation is a free gift from God. Agree, or disagree?
    Absolute moral truth exists; and, The Bible is absolutely true; and, God is the Creator of the universe; and, God is all-knowing and all-powerful; and, God is still sovereign over all; and, Jesus is the Son of God; and, Satan is a real entity; and, Jesus lived a sinless life; and, Salvation is a free gift from God. In a multiple-choice, take what you want and leave the rest, cobble-together a belief system - from wide and competing sources - until you have something you think you can live with world, the narrow demands of a take it all, or leave it all proposal seem pretty out-of-step with modern sensibilities...
    Unless, of course, someone with power is the one laying down the law. If any person - or, worse, a committee! - were to frame an ideology with absolutes woven in, they would be resisted (thankfully!), and dismissed. But, what if someone with absolute authority were to lay down absolute conditions? How would one dismiss, resist or negotiate when you are up against One Who has no one above Him?
    Boy, this Christian/Biblical Worldview stuff is heavy, huh? In a world that can't agree on who belongs in the top tier of each party's presidential hopefuls - with "only" 17 months to go until the general election - how do we find agreement on the issues that are eternally binding?
    This is commanding conversation, but it is approachable. How? It's a one-piece-at-a-time construct. With a clear mind, I must consider: Does absolute moral truth exist? Until I can conclude that some things rise to the level of "always, no matter what," finding a source of absolute truth will never be compelling. All of those logical dominos, each falling to trigger the next in the string, lead - ultimately - to the question-of-the-day: how do all of these timeless truths finally become personal? What does it all mean, to you?
    At the end of the day, most of us don't spend our free time in philosophical musing. Our relational world usually spends more time drinking Starbucks than it does debating Nietzsche. The incessant demands of the 21st Century marketplace strain the brain... and leave most literate people bookless, most educated people more intense about getting tickets to a Rolling Stones reunion-tour concert than a front-row seat for an apologetics debate. Why "waste" what little "free time" you have with these apparently esoteric exercises, when you have "better things to do?"
    Well, here's a breakthrough idea: it won't always be today. You won't always be here. Someday, your days will be gone. When your clock stops ticking down, your eternal calendar will be engaged. When eternity hits for you, you will no longer be here. Instead, you'll be somewhere. That somewhere will be somewhere else. Your vacation options are, today, global and limitless; your eternal options are far more narrow. There are only two destinations for the flights leaving Planet Earth's terminal. Both nonstop; transit time will be instant. The passengers on the airline called Death will either disembark at the Orientation Center for Hell, or the Welcome Home Reception for Heaven.
    Everyone is flying with a one-way ticket; there are no return legs to arrange. Once, there - in either setting - you're there for... eternity. No "do-overs" are allowed; no customer service desk to arrange a transfer elsewhere. There is a shorthand brand-name for that eternity-in-heaven option: it's salvation.
    If hell is as bad as eternity can be, and heaven is as great as eternity can be, heaven must be a bunch more expensive, right? I mean, what's the price gap between the "No Star" option and the "Five Star Plus" option? How can anyone afford salvation?
    Truth be told, no human CAN afford salvation. Our currency is not traded in Heaven's markets. The only way you can board the Heaven-bound flight... is with a free ticket, purchased with the sacrificial death of the sinless Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is a free gift. Man-Made Religion is selling bogus tickets, making demands of people that are meaningless to God. Are you celebrating the free gift of God's grace today? Are you letting people know about the opportunity they have to get in on the deal?

Bob Shank

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