Friday, May 11, 2012

Who Deserves to Live?

No one deserves to die,” or so is the claim made by a television show I watched recently. The series is based around a man who was once a hit man. His then boss and father figure in his life taught him that it was okay to kill the people they were hired to kill because they deserved to die. But then he was given the assignment of killing a woman whose only fault was that she had witnessed a crime and those who had done it didn’t want her to testify against them. That was the turning point that caused the main character to begin a crusade to protect the innocent.

But is it true that “no one deserves to die?” It sounds good. With that battle cry we would have reason to protect both friends and strangers. Instead of saying, “no one deserves to die,” how different it sounds when we say, “everyone deserves to live.” They are both saying exactly the same thing and yet, with the second, we aren’t as quick to agree. Life is a privilege, is it not? It is a thing of great value. It is so valuable that billionaires will give their fortune away for just a few more years of life.

We might ask ourselves, “what have I done to deserve life?” We were born into this world having done nothing to earn life. We spend our early years relying on others to keep us alive. We spend our middle years, mostly just going to work to stay alive. Then in the latter years, we’re dependent on others again. If there were something that we could do to deserve life, what would it be?

One of the tenets of the Christian faith is that none of us deserves to live, with one exception. Adam sinned in the garden and we, the descendants of Adam, are all sinners. While we may find it uncomfortable to say that we deserve to die, the fact is that we have dirty hands and dirty minds. We don’t deserve to enter into the purity of God’s heaven. We will all die someday.

What the creators of the show missed is that though we all deserve to die, that still doesn’t give a hit man the right to kill us. Granted, it would be harder to build a show around that concept. So there’s no point in faulting the television show too much, since it is just a TV show. But in real life it is important to realize that life is a privilege that we have for a very short time and only the one person who deserves life but gave it up willing can give us the right to live. It is also he alone who has the right to decide who deserves to die.

Who is this person? None other than Jesus Christ. Jesus, God who became man, lived a sinless life, helped those in need, created the world. He deserves to live, but he chose to die. He died as a man because there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. It was not for his sins that he died, but for ours. It is by his choice and his choice alone that we are allowed into heaven are we are cast out into outer darkness. There is nothing that we can do to deserve to be chosen. The best goodness we have is not enough to convince him.

Who then does he choose? As he looks out over the world, looking for those he will save, who does he pick? “Whosoever will,” the Bible says. The people Jesus picks are those who trust him in faith for their salvation. He doesn’t pick those who are trying to be good enough, but those who trust him.