An American scholar(2) once heard a preacher speaking on the topic of common brotherhood. The preacher revealed God’s remarkable love for mankind and His yearning that all mankind be united as brothers and as sons of the One God. This scholar believed in the salvation of all souls regardless of their faith. This philosophy, which has spread during this century in the western world, has given faith a looseness. Many ask the questions: “Do you suppose that God would destroy all these millions of atheists? Will whole nations perish because they are Buddhists?” Etc.
That scholar wanted to embarrass the preacher, so he entered into a discussion with him:
“Are not all men descendants of Adam and Eve?”
“Yes, they’re their descendants.”
“Is God not the Creator of Adam and Eve?”
“God is their Creator.”
“Therefore, all people are the children of God
Because they are the work of His hands.”
Then, the preacher pointed to the seats in the hall and asked the scholar, “Who made these seats?”
“A local carpenter.”
“Are these seats the sons and daughters of the carpenter?”
The preacher then continued, “They aren’t the daughters of the carpenter because they don’t bear his life within them. Similarly, not everyone is the child of God, even if he’s called a Christian and practices Christian rites. Only he who bears the life of God within him is God’s son.
This story reminds me of an incident that happened twenty years ago. I was standing beside the departed Father Mikhail Saad in the courtyard of Saint Mark’s Church in Alexandria. In a fatherly glance he observed one of the church cleaners who was standing at the door of the church.
Father Mikhail approached him and gently asked about his spiritual life. He felt that the man did not enjoy a living communion with God, neither in his prayers, nor in his Bible reading, nor his repentance and Communion. The priest shook his head in sadness and said to the man, “I’m sad, my son, for your salvation is precious. You stand at the door of the church but you don’t enter it with your soul. You’re like the carpenters, the blacksmiths and the workers who helped Noah build the ark. Noah, his family and all the animals entered but the carpenters and workers did not enter. They made the ark for those who would enjoy it but deprived themselves of salvation.”
Grant me, O Lord, to ask myself the question: Am I truly Your child?
Do I bear Your life protected within me?
Being a Christian will not intercede for me.
My baptism will not save me if I have neglected my growth in You.
My worship judges me before Your Divine throne.
May Your Holy Spirit work in my heart,
To convict me of my sins so that I may repent and confess all my weaknesses.
That the joy of Your salvation may be declared to me, to enjoy Your life within,
And live a life befitting the Son of God.
(2) Banhouse, Donal Grey. Let Me Illustrate. 1995. 337.
The Alpha and Omega