There’s a common misunderstanding (by a small group of people) that Jesus was somewhat of a socialist. I’m not going to address all the supposed evidence for this today. Instead I want to point out how certain parables demonstrate that Jesus shows that he cares very much about individuals. Even though he fed thousands and preached about helping the poor and loving others, he was not lumping all people together or discounting the needs of unique individuals.
Actually, there are many examples of where Jesus helped ONE person, but not everyone. He spoke to crowds, but he often took one person and dealt with them as a individual needing salvation. The message is that each of us will stand before God after we die so each of us needs to be saved individually. There is no collective salvation or discarding individuals for the ‘needs of the many’. His death and resurrection is effective for the salvation of all who will believe, but not all will believe.
John 3:16 says that God loved the world and gave his son so that those who believe will have everlasting life. John 3:18 says this:
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
This verse tells us that salvation is only for those who believe. It is not dispensed collectively to all people.
So what is the parable that sparked these thoughts? There are actually three and they are all listed one after another so we can see that they are related. The Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin and the Parable of the Lost (or Prodigal) Son. In all of these stories, something is lost and found. The seeker leaves what they already have and goes to find the lost thing. A woman seeks her lost coin. A father welcomes his prodigal son. Jesus says that ONE lost thing was important to the seeker. The seeker leaves the others behind to go find or welcome the lost sheep, coin, and son.
Jesus was not saying that he didn’t care about the other sheep. They were already saved! He was saying that EACH SHEEP mattered to him. He said “10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Unlike collectivist thinking, each person has value. In socialism or communism, the mantra is ‘the needs of the group over the needs of the individual’. Jesus is able to take care of both. He is not a socialist, he is outside of such limited human concepts. Humans can’t even conceive of being able to take care of each and every individual while still doing what is best for everyone! But God can.
Heaven will actually be more like a ‘communist paradise’ than anything possible on this earth. We will all be unified in love and sin will no longer divide us! Every person will glorify GOD and do His will and our needs (whatever that will be)will be provided for, but there will be no risk of corruption or power struggles or starvation. Only in the kingdom of heaven can collectivism work. But to get there, you must be individually saved by grace and faith.
Christians should have a common goal while still on earth, to love God and love people, but we should not expect any government or group to be perfect and we must beware of giving unconditional loyalty to anyone but God. Cults are famous for claiming to be the ‘only’ true church and requiring unquestioning and collective behavior. God wants us to seek Him and put our faith in Him alone, not the false security of being part of an institution. Church is important, but it doesn’t save you.
Every one of us is important to God. Are you saved?
Someone noted once that the socialist and nudist make the same mistake. They try to invoke Eden’s lifestyle here on earth while we are still in our fallen sinful state. Someday issues of politics and clothing will matter little because we will be focused on the Lamb, and He will be caring for each of us.
I never thought of it that way, C. A. but that’s a good point!
Great post, Paula. Communism in theory looks so good, but all we need is a good look at history to know it’s not all we might think – not as long as people are fallen, selfish creatures.
My pastor says there will be no grandchildren in heaven, rather only children of God. Each individual must surrender their own life to Christ.
Right! And don’t show up without your wedding clothes!
It is interesting that atheists begin to be utopianists when they’ve purged the idea of heaven from their minds. Gotta bring “heaven” to the earth instead.
Thank you for an uplifting article and reminder that our heavenly Father truly cares for each of us.
Happy and blessed New Year!