Read: Matthew 7:21-23; John 3:3
The other day I was laughing with a friend. They had just taken down the last of their Christmas lights; so, now, Christmas is officially over for them. I guess I'm walking down a similar path as they are because today's thoughts hearken back to our favorite Christmas movie, “It's A Wonderful Life”. Yes, I know that it is February, and the groundhog has already retreated back into his hole to sleep away the remainder of winter. Even so, I'd like one more opportunity to glean another lesson from George Bailey from the 1946 holiday classic. Perhaps after this, Christmas will be officially over for me too.
Why would I think of this story today? It happened when I read Jesus' words in Matthew 7:21-23. More about that trigger later after we remember the story line of "It's A Wonderful Life." The main character George Bailey was a good guy. He had dreams and aspirations that he set aside so he could keep his father's business going. Each time he thought that he might get away from the little town in which he was raised, another crisis arose, and George was delayed yet one more time. Finally, he settled down and began to raise a family, having set aside his former goals and replaced them with new ones. Yet, on Christmas Eve, circumstances became overwhelming to George Bailey, and he decided to end his life. That's when we meet Clarence, an angel whose job it was to convince Bailey that life was truly worth living. A precious gift that should not be thrown away. However, try as he might, George wasn't convinced. He said that it would have been better if he had not been born. So, Clarence decided to show Bailey what life for others would have been like if that were the case. As a result, George Bailey began to learn that the good that he did really had made a difference. His timely acts of kindness had truly changed many lives.
As believers, this is the point in the story where we praise the Lord Who so graciously intertwines lives. That's where my thoughts usually rest. I love the reminder of God's wondrous sovereignty that allows the right people to be in the place of His choosing at just the right time, Psalm 115:3; however, today I pondered a few additional poignant scenes from the movie. Another reminder that might be even more important than the first one as sweet as it is.
Before George Bailey finally realized that he had truly had a wonderful life, he went to see his mother. He was still experiencing the ramifications that would have been if he hadn't been born. When he knocked on the door, she didn't know him and threatened to have him thrown out. Next, he tried to see his wife Mary who was closing the library for the day. She didn't know him either. In fact, she was afraid of him and cried out for help. The police came to take him away. He was rejected and thrown out because he was being shown what it would have been like if he had never been born. Rejection and loneliness. Not being known. That would be bad, but what about the ramifications for a man who has never been born again? Back to Matthew 7 and those words of warning spoken by the Savior. Let's look into what He said.
Jesus told us that many who refer to Him as Lord and speak of the mighty things they have done in his name, will not enter His kingdom. He will tell them that He never knew them. He will tell them to depart from Him and He will refer to them as workers of lawlessness. He will not be impressed with the works they have done even though it appears that at least for a time that they held those works out proudly before Him. Why does Jesus speak this way? Jesus, Who is Truth wants us to know that these people are those who have never been born again, John 3:3. They speak of what they have done not what the Savior has given. Their works, therefore, count for nothing. Sadly, Jesus sends them away saying that He never knew them. They, though they have been created and given physical life by Him, are not His children, having not received Him,
John1:11-12; 1 John 3:1. Jesus called them evil workers. The wrath of God remained on them, John 3:36. How sad it is to see a portrait of a life that was born into the world with great promise but ended up in ashes because the person wasn't born again, Galatians 6:15.
It is so different for the person who is born both physically and spiritually. The one whom Jesus has made a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17. It is this one who has truly lived a wonderful life because Jesus has lived in and through him. This one who did the will of God, John 6:28-29 will be received when he stands before the Lord, Jude 1:24-25. This one, because he came to Jesus with nothing to give but his sins, will stand before Him justified, Luke 18:9-14.
Lord, we don't want anyone to see what life will be like if he has never been born again; so, help us to tell others the truth that Jesus gave us in today's scripture. Please open hearts to receive Your Word. Thank You Lord that You have no pleasure in the death of those who are not born again, Ezekiel 33:11. It is Your desire that all will come to You, 2 peter 3:9.