The Parable of the Vineyard Workers
Daily Bible Reading – 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17; Psalm 2; Matthew 20
Today’s Key Passage – Matthew 20:1-16
Grace is a tricky thing. Most of us are quick to want it when it comes to our own mistakes and sins, but extending it to others can be difficult, particularly if the other person in question is notoriously wicked. In 2011, the news broke that a raid by brave members of our US Armed Forces led to the death of Osama bin Laden. The news was met with widespread joy and celebration across the country, and most people (myself included) believe that bin Laden is currently in hell eternally separated from God. Here is the thing about grace, though – we do not know that to be a fact. Only God knows the condition of someone’s heart when he dies. While it is highly unlikely, it is possible that as death neared, Osama bin Laden repented of his sins and turned to God. While it is highly unlikely, it is possible that before he died he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. While it is highly unlikely, if that had happened, the Bible says that Osama bin Laden would be in Heaven right now. Does that seem hard to believe? Jesus knew this concept of grace might be difficult for us to understand, and that is why in today’s key passage He tells us the Parable of the Vineyard Workers.
In His parable, Jesus tells us about a landowner who went out early in the morning and hired men to work in his vineyard. The pay he offered was one denarius for the entire day. At about the third hour, the landowner went and found more men and agreed to pay them one denarius for the day. He continued to hire men at the sixth hour, the ninth hour, and the eleventh hour, and he agreed to pay all of them one denarius. At the end of the day, the landowner paid all of the men one denarius, starting with the last ones he hired, and all of the men who were hired early in the morning were angry to see that the men who had only worked a short time were being paid the same amount they were being paid. So what does this parable mean? The landowner is God, and the denarius is salvation.
Some people are saved early in life and they spend their entire lives working for Christ and following Him. Others are saved in the middle of their lives and only spend half as much time working for Christ and following Him. Still others are saved at the end of their lives, some even on their deathbeds, and they never really get the opportunity to do much work for Christ. All of these people, whether saved as a child or saved 1 minute before death, receive the same wage – eternal salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Just as the landowner was well within his rights to pay the men who worked in his vineyard whatever amount he wanted, our God is completely sovereign and can choose to extend grace to whoever He chooses. God chooses to extend grace to anyone who comes to him with a true heart, repents of his past sins, and accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. Regardless of past deeds, Jesus saves.
Does it make you slightly angry to think that people bin Laden, Hitler, or Stalin could be in Heaven? If so, you have not yet fully grasped the concept of grace. In fact, the very idea someone so wicked could actually end up in Heaven is a wonderful thing! It tells us that none of our sins are so bad that God cannot forgive them, and it tells us that it is never too late to come to Christ. Rejoice in the fact that our God freely gives His grace and mercy to everyone who seek it, and rejoice in the fact that eternal life is available for everyone willing to turn to Jesus Christ. While it is highly unlikely that bin Laden turned to Christ at the end of his life and was saved, it is certainly possible, and that, my friends, is a very good thing indeed.
During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you? Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.
Posted on May 3, 2014, in 01 - Matthew and tagged Bible, Christian, Daily Bible, Daily Devotional, Forgiveness, God, God's Character, Grace, Jesus, Religion, Salvation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.