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Biblical lessons from Recent News Items
 

"Yours Truly has been inspired to initiate this page of drawing lessons from trendy, contemporary topics much in the manner of His Master (Luke 13:1-3). This would be a fortnightly column..."

THE HEAVENLY NRC!!!





Not an hour seems to pass in the News Channels and in the Social Media without a discussion about the exercise Government intends to undertake apparently in the name of NRC (National Register for Citizens). Broadly speaking, this move prima facie is aimed at distinguishing between genuine refugees in our Country and infiltrators who make their way into the Country in the garb of hapless refugees initially only to reveal their “true colors” (read malicious intentions) later on. Any lapse on this front of mistaking the infiltrators for hapless refugees would be detrimental to our “National Interests” is the Government’s claim. However response of the Opposition and large chunk of the Minorities (for apparently genuine reasons) to this Government “proposed action” has been one of “suspicion” (despite assurances from the top brass of the Government that it has no “hidden agenda” behind this action)!!! Does the Government have any other ulterior motives behind this initiative… something like deporting all Minorities eventually from their Motherland in order to make India an exclusive “Hindu Rashtra”? Now these are the questions being raised quite-so-vociferously in different forums by the Leaders’ of the Opposition as well as those of the Minorities. Why some State Governments like Kerala (at the time of writing of this article) have even brought this whole matter of “not intending to go by the Central Government directive” to the Supreme Court “to decide on this issue”!!! Knowing Supreme Court’s excellent track record in settling contentious issues’ like the “Ayodhya dispute” with admirable balance keeping Nation best interests uppermost in its eyes…Yours Truly along with countless responsible Citizens of our Great Nation are soon expecting an all “tension-defusing” verdict from our Country’s highest Judiciary. At this time, the fact that the International Community (which has cited India as the best example of different people of different backgrounds living together peaceably with emphasis only on unity rather than on uniformity) is looking at our Country with concern should not be lost on all of our National Leaders’.

While we all Bible believing Christians in India resolve to pray for National peace at this hour (1 Tim 2:1-4) perhaps it’s also time to reflect in unison on the importance of yet another ethereal Citizenship Register…and that is the Lamb’s Book of Life!!! In this message, Yours Truly toeing His Master’s line of gleaning spiritual lessons from contemporary events (Luke 13:1-3) intends to bring different dimensions of this subject (Book of Life) to the fore…using alliteration beginning with what else…an alphabet R…doesn’t the word “Register” also begin with an alphabet “R” (sic)…

Rating…



However, the important thing is not that demons obey you, but that your names are registered as citizens of heaven- Luke 10:20

Our Lord unequivocally brings out the paramount importance of having our names recorded in Heaven’s Book of Life putting its significance thereof over and above even great public Ministry involving miracles’.

Undertaking Christian Ministries which on the surface value appear great may not take one to Heaven as evidenced in the following Scripture portion...

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. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness- Matt 7:21-23

But on the other hand having our names not only recorded in Lamb’s Book of Life and doing our part in ensuring they remain therein is guaranteed to land us safely in Heaven (Rev 3:5/20:15).

Our names are written down in that Ethereal Book…in this New Dispensation of Grace…the moment we repent of our sins and appropriate Christ’s atoning work on the Cross in our lives (Romans 4:13-25/ Rom 5:1-2/ Rom 10:8-10) …and the same would be retained if we on our part faithfully keep obeying Him in all areas’ of our life.

Now who are they whom the omniscient Jesus (Pro 15:11, Heb 4:13) does not know? His words of condemnation (in the context of failing to obey) to the accursed “I do not know you” (Matt 7:23) seem paradoxical considering His omniscience. St. Augustine the well-known Christian Saint of the 5th Century observes that these words actually mean that these men -purportedly “Servants of Christ” in public perception- never knew Him properly in the first place. In other words they never fully understood Christ and His priorities. They may have made a good start in Ministry with a measure of anointing but somewhere down the line, they may have got carried away by the lust for “fame and riches”…a la Demas (2 Tim 4:10). Anointing in them which is irrevocable (Rom 11:29) may have served the purpose of “blessing the people” (people are always precious unto the Lord) amongst whom these men ministered but their hearts far-removed from the Lord’s priorities in the matters of total obedience were never a source of joy to their Master (1 John 2:4). The Lord who can blot out names from the Book of life (Exo 32:33) had deleted their names on account of their persistent disobedience despite being given much (read responsible Leadership privileges- Luke 12:45-48) and all of Scriptural warnings.

While the disobedient lot are said to be those “who do not know the Lord” look at what the Scripture has to say (in stark contrast…employing the same word “know”) about the faithful Servants’ of His for whom total obedience to the Master (synonymous with loving the Lord- 2 John 1:6) is more important than anything else…

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments… 1 John 2:3

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God - 1 John 4:7

On our part (I reiterate), depending fully on His sustaining grace, let’s strive to finish the race of our Christian lives with our names retained in the Book of Life. This would result in we being acknowledged by the Master Himself eventually as “Victorious” (Rev 3:5 –NLT), rather than as “Workers of lawlessness” who having lost their place in the “Heavenly NRC” are “deported” to Hell!!!

Just a word…about the “Victorious” folks…many of them being at the receiving end of injustice and lies like their Master (faithful Cross bearers- Luke 23:23/ 1 Peter 2:18-23), may end up appearing in the sight of the World as “defeated” ones’ but much like their Master they too would be exalted by the Heavenly Father (Heb 5:8-10/ Rev 3:20) when it would matter the most.

Resolve…



But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, erase my name from the record you have written- Deu 32:32

Amazing is Moses’ determination borne out of love for His sinful people when it comes to interceding for Divine forgiveness. Jews who were liberated from the Egyptian bondage had (in Moses’ physical absence) committed a sin of idolatry and adultery right at the same Holy Place (Mount Sinai) where they had received Commandments to shun these 2 detestable activities (Exo 20:4-5,14). Talk of holding a New Year Rev Party inside the Church right after the Watch night Service breaking in the process all the New-year resolutions about holiness taken only a few hours ago!!!

Like Moses, Apostle Paul too…unthinkable as it seems…was willing to forego his salvation itself to see the fulfillment of his Holy desire of Jews accepting Christ (Rom 9:3)!!!

The Lord loves intercessory prayer warriors (Isa 62:6-7/ Eze 22:30) having a fervent desire to save the lost. How about resolving this year, to witness (as often as possible- Col 4:12 TLB) and intercede fervently for all the unbelievers who are acquainted to us…in order their names are also registered in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

George Mueller, the great Victorian Christian and social reformer, tells a story of persistent intercessory prayer for the lost in his diary:

In November 1844, I began to pray for the conversion of five individuals. I prayed every day without a single intermission, whether sick or in health, on the land, on the sea, and whatever the pressure of my engagements might be. Eighteen months elapsed before the first of the five was converted. I thanked God and prayed on for the others. Five years elapsed, and then the second was converted. I thanked God for the second, and prayed on for the other three. Day by day, I continued to pray for them, and six years passed before the third was converted. I thanked God for the three, and went on praying for the other two. These two remained unconverted.

Thirty-six years later he wrote that the other two, sons of one of Mueller’s friends, were still not converted. He wrote, “But I hope in God, I pray on, and look for the answer. They are not converted yet, but they will be.” In 1897, fifty-two years after he began to pray daily, without interruption, for these two men, they were finally converted—but after he died! Hallelujah…these men’s names’ were also finally recorded in Lamb’s Book of life. How’s that for persistent praying (Luke 18:1)!!!

Represent…



But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ- Philippians 3:20

Invariably if in the Indian context…CAA and NRC…are inter-linked…then in the spiritual realm too, the subject of a Christian’s citizenship and the Lamb’s Book of Life are inter-twined.

A Christian whose name is registered in the Lamb’s Book of Life at the point of former’s regeneration is awarded citizenship in Heaven that very moment. So if our Citizenship is in Heaven, what is our role in this World? A hopeless one of living aimlessly? No way!!! We are Christ’s ambassadors’ (2 Cor 5:20)!!! Then again, if we are Christ’s ambassadors’…are our lives measuring up to our noble calling?

For the uninitiated it needs to be retold that in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic relations in 1960… on the basis of several worthy historical precedents it was decided to grant “Diplomatic immunity” to the ambassadors whereby to an ambassador of say India in US…Laws of distant, not immediately visible India would apply and not the Laws of visible, oh-so-close (to him physically) United States…even as he tries to promote the best interests’ of India in US. By the same token, for a Christian who is Christ’s ambassador in this World…Laws given by the invisible King of Heaven would apply (read all the Scriptural Statutes) and not that of this visible Fallen World, where we are temporarily residing. For instance…the Law of the World may say get even with your enemy especially during times of extreme provocation but the one given by the King seated on the Heavenly throne would warrant exactly an opposite course of action…love your enemy and pray for him (Matt 5:39-48)… though there is every temptation to go by the dictates of the World (tit for tat policy is accepted and welcomed by this World). Hey…you are representing the invisible King who is observing you…obey His Laws in faith (if you see Him physically, there would be no role for faith in your life- 1 Peter 1:7-8) and not that of the visible people right around you of this World!

Duty demands that I project the somber “other side of the coin” too on this subject. What would happen to a Christ’s ambassador who is not representing the Heavenly King in a manner worthy of his/her calling? Some sober words of “a premature recall” from the “place of posting” are recorded in the Scripture about the compromising Christians’ (they had been given a long rope) as a warning…

“That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined[j] so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”- I Cor 11:30-32

Oh yes…here in this context “recall” doesn’t mean immediate “deletion from Lamb’s Book of Life” itself but rather experiencing highly avoidable, painful consequences on not being a “good ambassador”. It would serve us well to go about our ambassador’s duties earnestly lest these words apply to us.

Finally Dear friends…in conclusion I would like to state whatever may be the verdict of our Supreme Court on the disputed Government action as regards CAA and NRC (I started my message with these subjects), let’s pray for national peace and do all that is necessary (as outlined in this message) to not only have our names registered in the Lamb’s Book of life (read Heavenly NRC) but also retain it for eternity!!!

Hallelujah!!! What price any theology which doesn’t end with doxology!!!



Yours in His service,


(Suresh Manoharan)