Thursday, June 17, 2010

Twins- but so different

Below is a hypothetical story taken from Sam Storms' book "Chosen For Life".
It describes the case of twins and how one comes to Christ and the other doesn't. The question he raises in the book is why? Why does one become a Christian and the other doesn't. It will be worth you time to read this short story.

Jerry and Ed are identical twins, raised by loving Christian parents. As much as was humanly possible, their mother and father refused to play favorites. Both boys were shown the same affection, granted the same privileges,
and bore the same responsibilities in the home. They attended the same schools and were virtually equal in athletic ability, popularity among their peers, and grade point average. They were truly twins in temperament, personality,
and achievement.

The boys attended church regularly with their parents but showed no interest in religious matters. They would often sit at the back of the church and laugh at the preacher, disdainful of his persistent appeal for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. As they were alike in so many other respects, they appeared to share an equal contempt for the gospel.

Jerry and Ed had just celebrated their nineteenth birthday and were looking
forward to graduating from high school. It was Easter Sunday. They were sitting in the same pew where they had sat for years, listening to the same pastor.

But something was different. Nothing unusual, at least in terms of the mundane,
natural affairs of life, had occurred to account for what happened on that morning. Neither brother had endured a humiliating experience at school, nor had they been the recipients of excessive praise and honor. By all appearances, it was just another Sunday morning.

But this day, much to his own surprise, Jerry suddenly found himself listening
intently to the sermon, while Ed was doodling on the church bulletin, obviously without interest in anything being said. Both brothers had heard countless sermons depicting their sinful and desperate spiritual condition, together with the promise of forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Christ. But not until that Easter Sunday did either of them pay the slightest degree of attention.

Ideas and doctrines that had, until then, sounded silly and archaic, mysteriously began to make sense to Jerry. The existence of an infinitely holy God against whom he had rebelled, together with the prospect of eternal death, shattered all his remaining tranquility of soul. He glanced briefly at Ed to see if he was paying attention. Not a chance.

“The pastor’s right,” Jerry silently concluded. “I am a sinner. Jesus is God in human flesh, and without him I have no hope. Oh, God! Help! Save me! Forgive me! Jesus, you are my only hope. If you had not died in my place and endured the Father’s wrath, I most certainly would have. Forgive me for being so utterly blind to your beauty until now. Oh, Son of God, I embrace you alone. I want to live wholly and utterly for you.”

Jerry struggled to explain to himself what was happening. All he knew was that while listening to what he had heard so many times before, he “heard” it for the very first time. What he had read in the Bible so many times before, he now “saw” as if it had only then appeared. Jesus of Nazareth, who until now held no attraction for him, suddenly seemed altogether lovely and winsome. The conviction that this Jesus alone could deliver him from the spiritual turmoil,
grief, and guilt in which he was mired gripped his heart. His soul was, as it were, flooded with wave upon wave of peace and joy as he felt the burden of his sin lifted from his shoulders and placed upon Christ, in whom it vanished
from sight.

Ed couldn't help but notice that his brother was weeping. With a quick jab of his elbow in Jerry’s side, he whispered: “Cut that out! You’re embarrassing me.” But Jerry was unfazed.
What Jerry now found altogether lovely, Ed continued to loathe. Jerry’s unbelief disappeared under a flood of repentance and whole-souled love for Christ. By an act of his will, Jerry embraced the redemptive sufferings of Jesus as his only hope and haven. He willingly repudiated sin and reliance on self, and with joy reposed in Christ. But Ed remained obstinate, and now even more indignant, in his unbelief.

Needless to say, Jerry’s experience that morning made for a volatile conversation in the car on the way home. He tried to explain to his brother what had happened, but Ed was incredulous and filled with rage. They were so engrossed in conversation that neither of them saw the pickup truck jump the median into their lane. The crash was head-on and fatal for both.

Instantly, Jerry left this life and entered the bliss of eternal joy in the presence of the Savior whom he had embraced only minutes before in saving faith. Tragically, Ed faced the eternal opposite, separation from the glorious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ as an object, not of love and favor, but of righteous wrath and indignation.

What accounts for the irrevocable and eternal division between these earthly brothers? What made Jerry to differ from Ed? Why did one come to heartfelt and happy faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior while the other persisted in heartfelt hatred and disdain?

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

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