Watch full sermon here: https://www.bridges.church/messages/the-paralytic-the-tax-collector-and-the-rabbi/
Hey, thanks again for sending in questions related to our recent sermons. As you probably know, we are in our series in Mark and this last week we went through the portion of the narrative where Jesus heals a paralytic, forgives a tax collector and then speaks rather directly to the religious establishment. So the question comes in this week when Jesus healed the paralytic, or before he did, he declared that the paralytic was forgiven. And so the question is, is that paralytic in heaven? We don’t know what happened the rest of his life.
Did this guy become a Christian when Jesus forgave him? Or how could Jesus forgive him when the paralytic hadn’t even said anything? He just lowered from the ceiling and Jesus pronounces him forgiven. Obviously a lot to unpack there, much of which we will just have to assume. And of course the ultimate answer of whether anybody is in heaven is up to Jesus himself.
And we can’t know definitively anyone’s salvation. But what we can know is already in the book of Mark we have seen multiple calls for repentance from both John the Baptist and Jesus himself. And that repentance is necessary to enter the kingdom or to be included in what God is doing. We also know that God looks at the heart, even back in the Old Testament when God is selecting David as King of Israel, humans look at exterior appearances, but God looks at the heart. In Romans Ten it is with our heart that we believe and we are justified, right?
And so there there is an internal faith which is required for salvation and that most of the time is going to precede any other outward expression of faith. And so what we would have to assume is that for Jesus to forgive give someone that internal repentance has happened. The same with the tax collector as well. They must be similar to Luke 18 when the Pharisee and the tax collector go up to the temple to pray and the Pharisee says I’m better than all these other people in Tax collector. The tax collector says just have mercy on me, O God, I’m sinner.
And Jesus says it’s that guy, it’s the tax collector that went home justified. It’s a posture of our heart as we talked about in the sermon, all we need is need. We need to really be crying out to God for mercy, for forgiveness. And that first, most of the time comes from our heart, which God can see and God forgives as he sees it. And so it’s an assumption that that was happening in the paralytic’s heart, but it’s a good assumption because God can see the heart and it is with our heart that we believe and are justified, as Romans Ten explains.
As far as whether the paralytic is in heaven. We, of course, believe that when someone is forgiven by God because of their repentance and faith and trust in Christ, that that person enters into the kingdom of God, receives God’s spirit, becomes a child of God, and with God’s spirit living inside of them, that they walk with the Lord, then that the Holy Spirit living inside of them will continue to convict and sanctify the person, draw that person closer to God, which, of course, is not a linear process. Has lots of ups and downs, has lots of repentance along the way. But ultimately, right Philippians one six we believe that God will complete the work that he begins in anyone. And I pretty undeniably that God began a work in the paralytic and so we do have confidence that he will complete that work at paralytic eventually ended up in Eternity with God.
So thanks for sending in the questions and for following along with our series. We will see you next time.