Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ebenezer and Thomas

      Allow me, if you will, to express a pet peeve.  Or two, actually.

    I cannot stand Ebenezer Scrooge being viewed as the symbol for mean, miserly, and cold-hearted misers who possess no caring or compassion for their fellow man.  Nor can I abide an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ who ultimately gave his life for the Savior being referred to as "doubting Thomas."

    "If any man be in Christ, he is as a new creature.  Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).

    Whether in Dickens' literature or the Bible's historical reality, our focus should gaze not upon that which was, but rather, that which is.  In Ebenezer's case, his journeys through the past, present, and future led to his becoming the man who most knew how to keep Christmas.  His is a story of redemption, and thus when we hear the name "Scrooge," kindness and generosity should come to mind in joyful remembrance of transforming grace and mercy.

    In the case of the Apostle Thomas, a far serious matter presents itself.  Certainly, he expressed the fleshly "I'll believe it when I see it" sensibility that characterizes all of us at times.  "
Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe" (John 20:25).  Moreover, the risen Lord Jesus chided his disciple for such uncertainty: "Then saith He to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing" (John 20:27).  However, the episode ends with Thomas expressing to his Savior one of the great affirmations of truth recorded in Scripture.  "My Lord and my God!" he pronounces the Lord Jesus.  Moreover, historical tradition holds that Thomas gave his life for Christ at the point of a spear.  I would therefore maintain that rather than "doubting Thomas," we should respectfully view our brother of old as "trusting Thomas," and a man who wears the martyr's crown for the glory of the Lord Jesus.

    God looks upon us not as who we were, but as who we are in Christ, and who we are becoming in Him.  We must share this blessed view of His saving grace, whether we consider a transformed literary figure, or a redeemed saint who gave the last full measure of devotion for his Lord and his God.  Ebenezer and Thomas - may we remember them as who they became, and as who they should endure in our hearts with great respect.

Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord."
(Ephesians 5:8)
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?   Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
(I Corinthians 6:9-11)

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