“You call yourself a Christian, where is your compassion for the poor?” demanded the cheeky student. Dr. Jenkins knew that the girl had been thoroughly brainwashed into the European socialism that has overtaken American universities. He also suspected that she spoke for the rest of the students in his economics class.
The good professor was about to respond with a rant that would make Rush Limbaugh proud when a sudden burst of inspiration stopped him short and sent him in a different direction. “How many of you believe that socialism is the answer for the American economy?” he asked. The show of hands was disheartening, if not surprising.
“Okay, let’s put it to the test. I propose that from this moment forward, we handle the grading of this course on a socialistic model. We are going to apply the principles of socialism—that great social equalizer—to the scoring of your tests. From now on,” he continued, “I’m going to average out all your grades and give everyone—no matter how poorly or how well you did on the test—the same grade. That’s socialism. Do you agree to this arrangement?” The students looked around unsure of themselves until the sassy girl once again took it upon herself to represent the entire class. “We agree!”
The first test under the new system was administered the following week. As promised, Dr. Jenkins calculated the scores and the median grade of C+ was applied to each student’s record. Diligent students were suddenly becoming nervous about this new arrangement while the laggards were quietly ecstatic.
Three weeks later, he gave the second test, only now even the “A” students were noticeably unmotivated. This time the average grade across-the-board had dropped to a dismal D. By the end of the school year—having been gutted of any motivation to put forth real effort —the entire class had flunked! It was a lesson in economics those students would never forget.
As I pondered this enlightening story, I had my own revelation. “Wait a minute,” I exclaimed to myself, “that’s exactly what’s happened in the Church!”
In our case, it has been the biblical principle of grace that has become the Great Equalizer. Over the past century, ear-tickling preachers have emphasized the “grace message” at the expense of the equally important subjects of obedience, righteousness and holiness–leaving people with the sense that anyone who shows the slightest inclination, no matter how they actually live their lives, are assured of eternal life.
Also de-emphasized has been the vital doctrine that Jesus Christ will render to every person rewards in accordance to their deeds. A bland “one-size-fits-all” concept of heaven has replaced the biblical teaching that our efforts for Christ will one day be richly rewarded with a greater capacity to enjoy God.
Since a righteous life, sacrificial love or consecrated living are not expected of God’s people and since everyone receives the same benefits of salvation, there is no reason to press in to know God; no reason to strive against one’s lower nature; no reason to reject worldly enticements; no reason to do much of anything except show up for church on Sundays. Is it any wonder then that the Church has lost her power and her fire?
The whole concept of socialism looks good to idealistic students in the sterile environment of a university classroom, but the reality of it in the workplace is another matter. Likewise, in seminary, it may seem like a good idea to promote a cheap version of God’s grace, but it doesn’t work in the real world of Christianity. In both cases, people are taught that those who strive for the best will be penalized, while the careless—in the name of Compassion—will be granted a free ride.
Thank God that He is not bound to man’s corruptions of His truth! Those who buy into the notion of cheap grace are only cheating themselves, for the age-old maxim that “you reap what you sow” will prove to be true in the end.
And it is right that it is so for the Lord has mercifully created a just system where every human being—regardless of his status in life—will receive precisely what he has shown he desired. As the apostle said, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)
No, you can rest assured that there will be no socialistic formulas at work on Judgment Day. “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12)
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