WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 24, 2021
TOPIC: NOBODY DESERVES TO BE SAVED
BY T. O. BANSO
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-10 New King James Version).
In Matthew 20:1-16, Jesus told the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The parable focuses on the kingdom of heaven. The main character in the parable was the landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers to work in his vineyard.
He met some labourers whom he agreed with the amount to pay them for their work – a denarius a day – and sent them into the vineyard. At the third hour – 9 am – the landowner returned to the marketplace to hire more workers. He saw some labourers standing idle in the marketplace and asked them to go into his vineyard and work. He promised to pay them whatever was right. These labourers went to join the first set of workers in the vineyard.
The landowner returned to the marketplace at the sixth and the ninth hour – noon and 3 pm – to hire additional labourers. They also went to work in the vineyard. Again, at the eleventh hour (5 pm), which was one hour to closing time, he returned to the marketplace and found other labourers standing idle. He asked them why they had been standing idle all day and they told him nobody hired them. He also asked them to go and work in his vineyard and he would pay them whatever was right.
In the evening, the landowner sent the foreman to call the workers so that he could pay them. He started payment in reverse order – from the last set of workers who only worked for one hour to the workers who came first. He paid each one denarius. But he had an agreement with only the first set of workers on what to pay them.
However, when it was the turn of the first set of workers, they thought the landowner would pay them higher than the others having worked more than them. But they were surprised that they were paid the same amount as others, including those who worked for only one hour. They complained against the landowner, saying “These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day” (verse 12 new King James Version).
The landowner replied, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good? So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen” (verses 13-16 new King James Version).
The New Living Translation puts verse 15 thus: “Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be angry because I am kind?” This first set of workers should have remembered that they were bound by the agreement they had with the landowner. He didn’t cheat them. They should even be grateful that he came to the marketplace to hire them. Otherwise, they could have been in the marketplace standing idle like the rest that the landowner went to hire later at different times.
The landowner reserved the right to give those who have worked less, the same amount as the first set of workers. The money belonged to him. What would be unfair was to pay the first set of workers less than he had agreed with them.
Don’t forget that the parable is about the kingdom of heaven. It’s not about the reward for labour in the kingdom of heaven. It is about entry to the kingdom of God. None of the workers deserved to work in the vineyard. They all found their way into the vineyard by the mercy of the landowner. If the landowner had not allowed them entry, they would have continued standing in the marketplace.
But the first set of workers appeared to have forgotten how they got into the vineyard having spent hours. They started developing an entitlement mentality. They became envious of workers paid the same amount as them. Whether they worked more than the others and were paid the same amount is not important. What is important is that they were paid exactly what was agreed on. They shouldn’t have complained about the landowner’s generosity.
Just as none of the workers deserved to enter that vineyard to work, nobody also deserves to be saved. Eternal life is the gift of God. Let nobody who, probably, has been born against for quite a number of years forget that he does not deserve to be saved. He must avoid developing an entitlement mentality or become envious of how God treats others who come into the kingdom after him. Nobody is saved by his righteousness or holiness. Isaiah 64:6a says we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags
Nobody deserves to be saved. Sinners are saved because of the work of redemption, which Jesus accomplished on the cross at Calvary. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 New King James Version). Saved by grace through faith means that salvation is not because anyone merits it. Every saved sinner was hell-bound if not for Jesus Christ. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 New King James Version). Titus 2:11 says the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
Nobody deserves to be saved. Romans 3:21-26 says, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (New King James Version).
Sometimes some people who are saved act funny. They have a holier-than-thou attitude. They look at some sinners as dirty, unclean persons, who probably, are too sinful to be saved. Truly, they could be very dirty and unclean but that’s what these saints were too before. But there is no sinner too lost that cannot be saved! “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18 New King James Version).
In Luke 19, Jesus told Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, to make haste and come down from the sycamore tree because that day He must stay at his house. He did and received Jesus joyfully. But the crowd complained that Jesus had gone to be a guest with a man who was a sinner. Nevertheless, Jesus replied, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:9-10 New King James Version). He also said in Luke 5:32 and Matthew 9:13b that He had not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.
Today’s saints were formerly sinners and shouldn’t give up on sinners, including those they consider chronic sinners. Nobody deserves to be saved. Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others” (New King James Version).
Paul continues in verses 11-13, “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (New King James Version).
Nobody deserves to be saved, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But God does not have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die but that he should turn from his ways and live (Ezekiel 18:23; 33:11). He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9b). He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Salvation is not something anyone earned or earns. It is by believing in Jesus Christ and accepting what Jesus did on the cross. “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8 New King James Version).
Nobody deserves to be saved. Paul says this of Himself: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (1 Timothy 1:15-16 New King James Version).
Nobody deserves to be saved. Appreciate and thank God for the mercy you obtained. Salvation is by grace. Thank God for your salvation and the salvation of others. Don’t look down on, criticize, or give up on those yet to be saved. Rather pray for their salvation. Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest (Matthew 9:38). Be faithful in soul-winning (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 1:8).
If you are not yet saved, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved’” (Romans 10:8-13 New King James Version). Yes, whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32). Nobody deserves to be saved.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, thank You for my salvation and the salvation of others. I will no more behave as if I deserve to be saved. I will not despise, criticize, or give up on those yet to be saved. O Lord of the harvest, send out labourers into Your harvest. Let more people be saved. Holy Spirit, help me to be faithful in soul-winning.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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