“[God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)
I remember hearing Fr. Thomas Hopko of blessed memory say, God has saved everyone, but not everyone is working out their salvation. God greatly desires the salvation of every person, and He strategically places things into our lives in order to assist our attaining to that salvation.
That lesson is something I noticed the last time I read the well known parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke’s Gospel. The second verse of the parable states,
But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate. (Luke 16:20).
Why was Lazarus laid at the gate of the rich man? Because God wanted this selfish person to see his neighbor, a fellow Jew, wasting away in hunger in order that the wealthy man would take care of him.
There can be no repentance or salvation without works to prove it. Not that our works save us, but they are the proof that our repentance is sincere. If this rich man was never given a way to repent of his selfishness, then at the Final Judgment he could say, “You are right, God, to condemn me as selfish. But you never gave me a way to change; You never put someone in need in my path to do good works.” Continue reading Who Is at My Gate?