Most exciting things in this world are not associated with life. The newspaper industry thrives on bad news, rather than good news. The mainstream media is replete with distressing stories. For the newspapers to remain in business, they have to wake up, hunting for the bad news.
Witchcraft, corruption, rape, misogynistic activities against women, and many others, are what make news headlines. People love those stories, more than anything associated with good news. The more the bad news, the more the newspaper industry thrives.
Editors and journalists know which side their bread is buttered. But what does all this do to ordinary humans? At boarding schools, the most popular characters mock fellow students who read the Bible or pray regularly.
Those engaging in promiscuity, drugs, and alcohol are regarded as heroes. Bunking the lessons is common, and acceptable to the naïve, assuming that to be wise, finding enjoyment in evil, rather than in goodness.
This does not imply ignorance of what goodness entails. Engaging in such vices has known consequences. I have met people who, actually, boast about having been mischievous in their youth. Apparently, wickedness is more charming than goodness, to most people, projecting hopelessness.
However, as created in God’s image, humans are basically good, just as God is good. The Bible clinically addresses human wickedness, restoring the inherent human dignity. Scriptures carry human characters, illuminating the path of righteousness, until Jesus.
From a physical viewpoint, Adam is considered to have been the first man. But, like other favorites, Adam directly communicated with God. Adam’s story is adequately covered in the first four chapters of Genesis.
Using Cain and Abel, God appears as having favored Abel, ahead of Cain, who later killed Abel. This projects the degeneration of human dignity. Unfair, though, God did not defend Abel, from the blatant murder. Also, God did not immediately avenge the wrongful murder.
In following the cardinal favorites, Enoch became the next in line. Not much is said of Enoch, except having walked with God. Like the previous favorites, Enoch was peculiar, and obviously, unpopular, among his contemporaries.
Compared with those living at that time, Enoch lived a fewer number of years. Like Abel, this world had not been designed for him. But, the Bible reveals that God would be the one determining the longevity of those separated to be His favorites.
Noah became next in line, but, this time, God extending His favor to Noah’s nuclear family. For the first time, God’s favor includes the family of the one favored. Nevertheless, though loved by God, Noah must have been unpopular among those of his community.
It must have been embarrassing to be associated with Noah, in his prime time. This is notwithstanding that Noah was righteous and blameless. But, certainly, not in the eyes of those taking comfort in evil practices.
Noah, was a laughable old man, to ordinary humans. He must have not only been queer but also viewed as old-fashioned. That describes the common behavior of humanity, even in our time. There may have been those considered as more Godly, but being variants of what characterized Noah’s behavior.
While projected by Peter as a preacher of righteousness, in 2 Peter 2:5, Noah never sought to convert anyone. He obeyed God, building an ark according to God’s instructions. His preaching must have been by his righteous conduct.
Noah was not instructed to preach to anyone. Everything done by Noah was peculiar. Those ordinary people could not understand him. God’s favorites follow God’s instructions, rather than engaging in other activities, not instructed by God.
God did not protect the favored Abel, from being murdered, and Enoch’s life was the shortest among others. However, Noah and his family, became the only survivors, to later establish a new civilization, after everyone else had perished. Nevertheless, the wickedness of humanity would still prevail, even among Noah’s progenies.
Next in line among God’s favorites was Abram, whose name was later changed to Abraham. Like Noah, Abraham was not instructed to preach, except to obey God’s instructions. He was instructed to go to a foreign land, designated by God. Ordinary humans lived unconditional lives.
Ordinary humans were free to conduct their lives according to human viewpoints. With the propensity to pursue wickedness, some were extremely wicked. Yet others were more righteous than others.
God’s natural laws governed their conduct, in pursuit of righteousness. Although not God’s favorites, some of those humans carry dignity, connecting them with God. The longevity of humans is determined by the degree of either righteousness or wickedness. Righteousness grants longer life, while wickedness shortens life.
Such determinant factors have no role in the longevity of God’s favorites. The demise of God’s favorites is determined by God, possibly, allowing them to be killed, just as happened to Abel. But it is impossible to kill anyone who is God’s favorite, without God’s approval.
Abraham’s story pervades the entire Judeo-Christian Bible, leading to Jesus’s birth. From God’s favored Abraham, there are several others, including Moses. These were prophets, some of which are not recorded in the Bible. Kings are also included among God’s favorites, depending on their relationship with God.
The patriarch Job was one of God’s favorites, but not captured in Abraham’s lineage. This indicates that, even though not captured in Scriptures, God’s favorites, embrace many, scattered throughout the ages. What makes God’s favorites different is that they follow God’s instructions only.
Other humans may obey or disobey God’s laws, reaping rewards, accordingly. Yet, God’s favorites are not governed by any of those laws. Christian failures hinge on this datum. Most Christians get entangled in confusion when conflating the two.
The false gospel is a result of failure to distinguish between God’s favorites and ordinary humans, although also created in God’s image. Christians are God’s favorites, just as others, from Abel, down to John the Baptist. But a Christian is greater than all the previous favorites.
“Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist, yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11 NIV).
Christians are not different from Jesus. But we have to clinically describe what Christianity entails. There is confusion, where people simply conflate ordinary humans with God’s favorites. The most significant distinction was revealed by Jesus, Himself:
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:38-40 NIV).
Obviously, those being commended for hospitality are different from His brothers and sisters. In other words, those being welcomed, are not Christians, identified as brothers and sisters of Jesus, who are God’s favorites. See [Who are the brothers of Jesus?].
Being a favorite is not by choice, necessarily. From Abel to John the Baptist, God’s favorites were led by God Himself. They did not choose God, but God chose them. The same applies to true Christians, in their diverse backgrounds, starting with the apostles:
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”(John 15:16 NIV).
Those favorites cannot boast, because they were simply chosen for their specific tasks. John the Baptist was described as having been greater than all the previous favorites. But the death, under which John the Baptist died, can disturb those, unaware of differences between God’s favorites and ordinary humans.
Before the Holy Spirit came, the disciples could also not fully comprehend these mysteries. To expect ordinary humans to understand is misplaced. At times Jesus had to be blunt, telling His disciples this reality, due to their ignorance of the assault on human dignity.
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.(Matthew 20:20-24 NIV).
Obviously, the two brothers were zealous, supported by their mother. But, unbeknown to them was that it is impossible to disentangle sin, without God’s help. The proclivity to sin is possessed by every human being. Those disciples had not chosen Jesus, in the first place.
Godliness is unappealing to ordinary humans. The majority of the Church-goers displaying Bible adoration and regular church attendance are driven by self-motive. Although, not all, the majority are self-centered.
The most unpopular way of life is true Christianity. Just as Noah and the rest of the prophets were unpopular, true Christians are unpopular. True Christians are not, necessarily, identified by label, whether Methodist, Catholic, or anything. They take instructions directly from God.
God peculiarly communicates with true Christians, who are different from ordinary humans. Although some humans show dedication to God’s Word. This is why Jesus preached in parables, to protect the unsuspecting ones from carelessly falling into it.
When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside, everything is said in parables so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”(Mark 4:10-12 NIV).
The charlatans attempt to alter such Scriptures, as to rewrite the Bible. They cannot figure out how and why; “so that ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”(Mark 4:12 NIV).
Secret things are not intended for everyone. The disciples were unaware of their special calling, which they could have rebuffed. But, they left everything to follow Christ. One of them, Judas, later failed. Hence Jesus sought to protect the ordinary, by preaching in parables.
The real being, for whom Jesus came to redeem, is spiritual. Those unwilling to surrender physical possessions, cannot make it. This is why Jesus strongly preached against blindly following, without surrendering everything (Luke 14:25-33). See [Christianity is the most dangerous faith].
The Church’s business is to preach the gospel, so that those repenting get baptized, before receiving the Holy Spirit. But that is where the danger lies. When a person repents, as to receive the Holy Spirit, but later quitting, he becomes vulnerable to condemnation. This is what Jesus meant by counting the costs (Luke 14:25-33).
“And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32 NIV).
There is nothing sacrosanct about Jesus, but the Holy Spirit. This is what the Trinitarians fail to comprehend. The Holy Spirit identifies with that aspect, projecting God’s image. By spurning God’s Spirit, the person forfeits the chance of recovering his true identity, lost at the Garden of Eden.
Without the Holy Spirit, the person would be safe, as not in danger of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. As stated in the book of Hebrews: “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left”(Hebrews 10:26 NIV).
The bottom line is a scarcity of dignity with humanity. To ordinary humans, what is morally wrong is more popular than the morally good. Most people are even embarrassed to be seen holding the Bible, revealing the extent of the scarcity of dignity. An unethical person is at home with unethical people, rather than with ethical ones.
This is what makes it impossible for humans to surrender their sinful conduct. It takes God’s grace to save humanity, through Jesus. God’s favorites are used, according to God’s will. Any other attempt for salvation cannot work.
The scale of degradation revolves around dignity, measured in shame, pride, and fear. Shame and pride can be defeated by confession. While fear can be defeated by discovering one’s identity, as God’s child.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99