Week 26- Seeds and the Soil

10 Apr

There are several different atonement theories.  Atonement theories are basically different ways of interpreting why Jesus came down and did what He did (at least, that’s what I think it is…).  One of those theories is Moral Influence theory that basically says the purpose and works of Jesus were meant to bring positive moral change to humanity.  Jesus came to be an example of perfection to humanity and the Holy Spirit enables us to live as close to that example as possible.

Here are two verses I want you to look at.

Hebrews 6:4-6:  It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
 
Mark 4:3-8, 14-20: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times. … The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

 

So basically, there are people who accept God’s salvation, reject the faith, and they can never come back again.  There are also people who look like they accept the faith, but don’t really make the faith their own.

What does this mean for the Moral Influence Theory?  Well, to start, I’d have to say that those who believe in moral influence theory, (and there were many famous people who did), may be like the rocky soil.  They hear the word and receive it with joy.  They try as hard as they can to be good.  But when trials come, they don’t have enough roots to hold their Christian life in place.  They fall away, and can never return to the faith.

Sounds ominous, right?

The reason why moral influence theorists don’t have enough roots is because they have rooted the purpose of their faith in something shallow.  They root their faith in trying to act like Jesus.  They see Jesus’s salvation as a mop that wipes away all the sin they committed before becoming a Christian, and then He cleans up the spots they miss as they try to live cleanly without sin, like Him.  When trials come, they aren’t rooted in His love and forgiveness and therefore cannot stand.

The Hebrews verse says that those who taste His loving goodness and then fall away cannot come back.  Seems real unforgiving, right?  There are parts of God’s character that we can’t understand.  We can’t understand why God would send people to Hell even if they haven’t heard the gospel.  He has the power now to make everyone believe; why doesn’t He just show that power and make everyone come to Him?  If God is a forgiving God, why are there people in Hell, and why can’t those who fall away come back? 

God is also a God of justice, and He can’t live with or be near injustice and sin.  If there are people who intentionally turn their backs on God, then they deserve punishment.  It’s God’s way.

God has a different view of fairness than humans have.  We can’t understand His way and why He does what He does.  My pastor has been talking about divine mysteries, and one thing He makes very clear about them is that they can only be understood by divine revelation.  We cannot see the answers to those questions unless God wants to show us.  Maybe the reason why God hasn’t answered those questions is so that we can trust Him even more.  If we know all the reasons why God does what He does, we start trusting the reasons more than the God.

So whether someone hears the gospel and turns away, thinks that copying Jesus will make them good, or intentionally turn away from God’s face, they all will be punished according to God’s justice that ultimately rules.

Veggie Tales Silly Song:

Larry’s Leapin’ Leap Year– Okay, not a song, but very entertaining none the less!!

2 Responses to “Week 26- Seeds and the Soil”

  1. ofnoaccount April 11, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    So if a belief in the moral influence of Christ is not enough for those in rocky soil, what would be sufficient? Did your class discuss any other reasons for the attonement?

    • ShortSyssa April 11, 2012 at 10:29 am #

      They need to believe that Jesus was sacrificed FOR them, that He is the only way, and that they can never be good enough. They need to trust in God’s forgiveness and loving mercy.

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