5.4 Still Human?
The theme of surprise at the process and outcome of our acceptance at the judgment ought to be a powerful influence on our thinking and behaviour. For all our study and preparation, that day will surprise us, it will shake us to the roots, as the newly built houses were rocked and battered to the foundations by the stormy wind and rain (representing Christ's interrogation of our conscience at judgment, Mt. 7:27). If that day is to be a surprise to us, we better have an appropriate humility now, recognising that ultimately our perceptions of many things will be shown to be wrong. There is even the possible implication that some who will be accepted by the Lord who even at their acceptance at the judgment have wrong attitudes towards their brethren. Thus before the Lord of the harvest, those who thought they had worked hardest complained that those they thought had done less, were still getting a penny. They were rebuked, but they still had their penny (cp. salvation; Mt. 20:11). The subsequent comment that the first shall be last might imply that they will be in the Kingdom, but in the least place. Likewise the brother who takes the highest place in the ecclesia will be made with shame to take the lower place (Lk. 14:9). Or the bitter elder brother, angry at the Father's gracious enthusiasm for the worthless brother, is addressed by the Father (God) in language which is relevant to the Lord Jesus: "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine" (Lk. 15:30). These sentiments are elsewhere expressed about the Lord Jesus. Is the implication that bitter elder brother is still in Christ and accepted in Him, even though his attitude to his brother is not what it should be? The least in the Kingdom will be those who break commandments and teach men so (Mt. 5:19); but the least in the Kingdom will be counted greater than John the Baptist was in this life (Mt. 11:11). The simple message is that there will be some in the Kingdom who simply weren't very obedient in this their day of probation. Admittedly, these details are capable of other interpretations. But bear these points in mind, especially if you ever struggle with the apparent harshness of some Christians you may meet.
This all suggests that even after our acceptance at the judgment, we may be
more 'human' than we may now imagine. Some will be in the Kingdom who
have big questions about the justice of God (Mt. 20:12,13 "friend"); the
wise virgins, apparently selfishly, won't give any oil to the others;
some will sit in the Kingdom in "shame" because they thought they were
greater than other brethren (Lk. 14:9- cp. the elder brother?); some remonstrate
that a highly rewarded brother already has ten pounds, and surely doesn't
need any more exaltation (Lk. 19:25).