As a boy growing up, my grandmother would sent me to the local hamburger stand to get a hotdog or a cheeseburger for us. I could order them one of two ways: a #1 hot dog was without chili and a #2 was with chili; a #1 cheeseburger was without lettuce, tomato and pickles, where the #2 has all of these and if we wanted any condiments, they were set outside the window for us to get.
As I look at God’s grace and what it does in our lives; taking a sinner and making him the righteousness of God. I just can’t help but see what I was and what I am now; it all reminds me of placing my order for a #2 cheeseburger which came with everything on it.
I was a #1, a man without grace; but now I’m a #2, a man with God’s grace.
I see this kind of thread running throughout the scriptures; the first Adam that fell and the second Adam (Jesus) that restores. I see it in the birthright of the firstborn, being transferred to the second born.
Paul in Rom.9 says, not all Israel is Israel, and then he goes about helping us to understand what he means. Abraham who was the 2nd born, had two sons; the first was Ishmael the other Isaac, but only one was with or of the promise of God.
Ishmael was rejected (a picture of the flesh); so Paul shows that being Abrahams seed alone is not enough to be the chosen of God (It has to be with or by the Spirit).
Then Paul shows that Isaac had two sons; one was named Esau the other was Jacob, being twins in the same womb and not born yet, God made his choice before they were born and before either had a chance to do good or bad. Once again God chose the second born; there’s something being revealed about the 2nd born son!
Paul shows that being Isaac’s seed alone is not enough either, that God is looking for something more. These two (inside the womb and out) show the struggle of the soul and the spirit within man, fighting to be the master one over the other; where God has rejected the soulish led person, but has chosen the spiritually led person.
No matter how well the soulish person does, he is already rejected and even before the spiritually led does anything, he is already chosen.
In a like manner, when we are born into this earth, we are like Esau who is ruled by his soul, but after God’s grace has come to us; we become like Jacob (Israel who rules with or by the Spirit), who is now accepted.
God declares who he will show his mercy and compassion to and who he will reject; this is seen in the fact that even before we are born into the earth, we all are rejected in our first birth, but we will be received through our second birth (being born again).
Paul shows there is an Israel that is rejected and there is an Israel that is chosen. There is an Israel that resembles in character, the trueness of what God has called to himself, not just a people of the flesh (natural lineage of Israel), but a people who are “of the Spirit” of Israel.
Paul says in (Rom 9:21), “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?”
Paul speaks of one lump of clay, and out of this one lump are two vessels; one to honor the other to dishonor, one will receive mercy and the other will receive destruction.
This lump can be Israel, where a part will be used for honor and the other will be used for dishonor, but just who is going to be made into which vessel? The deciding factor will be their choice of the character by which they live after; whether they are of the soul or of the spirit.
I believe this also shows two possibilities, as one lump of clay (our body) we can stay in our first birth and be rejected, or we can have a second birth and find mercy and compassion.
God has predestined only two vessels to be made, #1 is already rejected and the other #2 is already received. Just as there is a 1st Adam there is also a 2nd (or last Adam) Christ; one is rejected and the other is received.
Jesus said, “You must be born again”. So the question for you is, “which will you be when the question is asked; do you choose to be a #1 or a #2?” Do you choose to remain only in your first birth or do you want to have a 2nd birth?
When God’s grace came to me, I was going to say no thanks to the message of the gospel. A Baptist man and his wife took me and nine others up to their back porch; they poured out coffee and told us the gospel.
Then at the end they asked if anyone of us wanted to receive Christ. They started with the youngest to the oldest (I was the oldest), giving each of us a chance to receive Christ. I had already made up my mind to decline their invitation.
Then it came to my turn, I had the word “No” at the very tip of my tongue, but somehow the word “Yes” came out. I think everyone there was shock at that one single word that came out of my mouth, but no one was more shocked as I was.
The man asked me if I was sure that I wanted Christ. I thought on it for just a moment and at that moment, I realized I was empty and I needed everything that they had said about Christ in my life.
All of a sudden Christ became real to me, (he was no longer just a fairytale like figure; there was no possibility of me denying him now and at the same time me thinking it wasn’t true; Jesus had just become undeniably real to me in that very moment).
So I repeated to them all again, “Yes, I am sure.” I can’t really say what happened that day or how the word “yes” came out of my mouth. Some would call it predestination; others would say it was the Father’s way of drawing me just up to the very brink of salvation and then he gave me a clear choice to make, “Yes or No”.
Some believe that there is no choice, that it is already made for you; but I believe there was a moment there, that I could have said yes or no. In my heart it wasn’t the man who was asking, but it was the Lord himself that was asking me, “Do you want a #1 life or a #2 life; a #1, a life without grace; or a #2, a life with grace?”
My choice was much like at the hamburger stand; where I would speak with a big cheesy grin; Give me a #2 with everything you got.
I can’t say that I fully understood my decision that day or just what it meant to make Jesus the Lord of my life. People speak of surrendering to Christ; I can’t say that I gave everything over that day, but I have tried to give it all to him as he reveals it to me day by day.
Sometimes I’m successful in releasing the things he wants from me and other times I’m reluctant and I say no (though I know eventually he will help me to say yes again). However, I know his grace is carrying me and helping to bring me to that place where my whole life is his.
There are times that he changes me almost overnight; while other times he takes his time. He is the potter and I am the clay; and I know that he isn’t finished with me; so I’m always looking for another day full of his grace; and like Jacob, who had a limp for the rest of his life after he wrestled with the Lord, I also know that my walk in this world will never be the same.
So as I have made my choice and I move over to enjoy my #2 life, now it’s your turn in line. What’s will your choice be when asked; will it be a #1 or will it be a #2?