TITLE: Pass or Fail
DATE: March 8, 2019
TEXT: Matthew 7:21-23 - (ESV) - “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
What follows is a test. No one will know how you did. But, please, don’t skip over the questions.
If you are wondering where the questions come from, I can tell you they are part of the test the Swedish Migration Board gives to people who claim to be Christian and are fleeing from countries where they are being persecuted.
The test is supposed to tell the Board whether the individual is really a Christian believer.
Now the test may prove some things, but having a Christian faith isn’t one of them. . I don’t know about that. I do know it doesn’t answer the question “Is this person a believer.” And St. Peter is not standing before heaven’s pearly gates and asking heavenly applicants for answers to these questions.
I can also tell you that when the test was published in Sweden more than 100,000 people, including clergy, took it. Of that number only 300 managed to get a passing grade (above 60%.)
But it gets worse. The test has caused some serious problems for genuine believers who have been turned away.
One critic has summed up his perspective on the problem with the words: “This is a full-blown catastrophe…Genuine Christians are being deported to countries where Christians are persecuted simply because Swedish government officials are incompetent and hostile towards Christianity.”
Now I imagine some of you are asking, “If the Swedish government’s test stinks, who can write a better one? Could you do a better job, Pastor Klaus?
Well, truth is, I could… and so could the vast majority of Daily Devotioners. But I’m not going to do it. Don’t have to. The list has already been made up by Dr. Martin Luther. It’s called: “The Small Catechism.” And if that is still too long, I would point you to the Reformer’s: Christian Questions With Their Answers. (See: http://catechism.cph.org/en/questions-answers.html)
Now before I close… you should know the Lord’s criteria for heavenly admission is not the Catechism or the Christian Questions. The Good-Thief-On-The-Cross knew neither of those two things. But he did know he was a lost and condemned sinner and that perfect Jesus was dying for him so he might live forever.
He knew Jesus was His Savior…and that was enough.
THE PRAYER: (Taken from De. Luther’s Meaning to the 3rd Article.) Dear Lord, I know that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. That is why I give thanks the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. I rejoice that, in the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. Further, I am thankful that He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. Because of this I am confident that, on the Last Day, He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. In Jesus Name I give thanks; this is most certainly true. Amen.
Today’s devotion was inspired by various articles, amongst which is the one written by Amanda Casanova on February 12, 2019 for Christian Headlines. Those who wish may check out this link which was, at the time of writing, fully active: https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/swedish-government-tests-asylum-seekers-to-see-if-they-are-real-christians.html
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html