Oct 28, 2008

The Parable's Warning

"Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have." (Luke 8: 18 KJV)

These words were said as additional commentary on the parable of the Sower and the Seed. The word "therefore" points back to what Christ had taught in the Parable of the Sower and Seed. With what point did that parable deal? Was it not with "how" one "hears" the gospel? Does not the warning of Jesus imply that some will "hear" it differently? Some will "hear" it but not in the right manner? Is this not the reason for the warning of Jesus about taking heed "how" one "hears"?

All in the parable "heard" the word with their ears and in this sense "received" it. This is the only way in which the "hearing" and "receiving" of the word (seed) is alike in all four cases! All "hear" it differently! Some "hear" it to salvation, the good ground hearers, while the others do not "hear" it savingly, or "with understanding," or "with sincere faith," or "with depth," but receive and hear it only in a "shallow" manner.

Also, the additional parabolic commentary of Christ, in the above words, not only tell us that the parable deals with "how" one hears and receives the divine message of salvation, but also with how some of the "bad ground" hearers (the wayside, shallow, and thorny grounds/hearts), particularly the "wayside" hearer, have things "taken away" from them, things that they only "seemingly" possess.

Jesus is expounding further the parable and warning us not to identify the wayside, thorny, or shallow ground hearers with those who are genuine possessors of his salvation.

They have some things, of course, actually "taken away," such as the word that has entered their ears, and gained their attention. Such "taking away" occurs every day when unbelievers hear the gospel, entertain it for a time in their minds, and then leave thinking of it, dismissing it from their minds.

But, some imaginary things are also "taken away," as Jesus said. Jesus, in this additional commentary on the parable, mentioned a day coming when "secret things" will be uncovered, and this uncovering is certainly an allusion to the deceit of the hypocrites described in the parable.

Their supposed or apparent, their seeming or hypocritical, professions of faith and religion, will be all revealed one day.

These hypocritical shallow hearers and believers of the word, who "rejoice" initially at the good news message, and who are hasty and precipitate "converts," and who often become "on fire" and "fanatics" in their beginning, and who produce some "sprouts" of fruit, nevertheless never become anything other than "shallow" believers, people's whose faith is insincere, not honest, and not coming from a good heart.

This faith is good only in that it accepts, though shallowly and insincerely, the facts of the gospel. But, so also does the faith of demons, as James said. It is not good faith, however, because it lacks depth and sincerity of heart.

Don't many people who become professing Christians begin their Christian lives as either shallow ground or thorny ground hearers? Are such not destined to "fall away"? Isn't seed sown on shallow rocks destined to fail?

Anyway, these are some thoughts on the parable in light of the recent discussions I have had with the bloggers mentioned. Perhaps I will have more to say later.

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