To the “They Deserve It” Crowd: Clamp It!

Posted on May 21, 2020


By David Ettinger

Getting What They Deserve
I have read too many comments by well-known, book-publishing theologians, as well as well-meaning bloggers, regarding those who go to their graves – or will eventually go to their graves – without knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Of course, going to the grave in this condition means spending eternity in Hell. Though we may not like or accept this viewpoint, it is biblical fact as per John 3:16, John 3:36, and 1 John 5:11-12.

Though a tragic and somber fact, many Christians are far too casual and dismissing of it. Their cold-hearted convictions are usually verbalized as such: “They had their opportunity – an entire lifetime, in fact – to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. If they didn’t do so, they got what they deserved.”

I call this the “They Deserve It” crowd.

Grow Up!
Theologically speaking, this is true. People have free will, and are free to either accept or reject Christ’s lordship. But when the “They Deserve It” crowd spews this truth, it is almost done with glee. It is cold, calculating, and compassionless. But it is correct.

And because it is correct, their advice to someone such as me who detests such spiritual frigidness would be something along the lines of: “Grow up, you little sissy! These people had their chance and blew it! And now they are receiving what their rejection fully warrants!”

I suppose I should grow up, but when my Jewish mother died at age 53 followed one year later by my 58-year-old Jewish father, I have every reason to believe that neither of them knew the Lord. Funny thing about that, though, is that I never thought “they got what they deserved!” Yes, I know they were faced with a choice and opted for the negative, but, somehow, I can’t quite find it deep inside – no matter how much I try to “grow up” – to glibly note just how much they deserved their fate. I suppose I still have a lot of theological growing up to do.

Fortunate Fate
I can’t help but notice how so many of the “They Deserve It” crowd have had the fortunate fate of having parents, siblings, and children who either all, or at least in great numbers, have accepted the lordship of Jesus Christ.

thumbs down

“It’s the most natural thing in the world,” they would say. “What, you have family members who don’t know the Lord? Well, whose fault is that?”

So cavalier. So calm and collected. Those of the “They Deserve It” crowd are like individuals living in a city which has just been leveled by an earthquake and, as it so happened, their homes were unscathed, and not a single family member harmed. They march through the ruins of their shattered city holding their heads high, chins up, eyes bright, and bask in the glow of God’s bestowed goodness upon them. “Too bad about those others,” they muse. “They should have lived on my street.”

Chosen For Faith
For those who flick their fingers of condemnation at the Christ-rejecters, there is a bit of self-examination they need to conduct. Though I don’t understand it all, I know that left on our own, human beings are incapable of coming to a knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Bible is clear on this:

  • John 6:44: “No one can come to me [Jesus] unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
  • John 6:65: “He [Jesus] went on to say, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.’”
  • John 15:16: “You did not choose me [Jesus], but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit …”
  • Ephesians 1:5: “… he [God] predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will …”
  • Ephesians 2:8-9: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Again, I don’t understand it all, but I know that we cannot come to faith in Christ unless He “chose” or “predestined” us. If He did not choose us, we would not have the faith to accept His lordship. Yet, at the same time, men and women are given the free will to reject Him. This includes those not “chosen.” I’m not sure how this all works other than to confess that these are the things of “the infinite,” and I am but a thing of “the finite.”

Clamp It, Folks
So, to the “They Deserve It” crowd, I say, “Clamp it!” The reality is that though the rejecters of Christ may deserve everlasting punishment, it is just as true that none of the “saved” deserves everlasting life. Eternity is God’s doing, not ours (Ephesians 2:8-9).

In the meantime, I have still not seen a single family member (parents, children, siblings included) come to Christ in my 34 years as a believer. As each year passes, at least one more relative leaves this world in unbelief and moves on to the next.

For those of you who icily believe they each got what they deserved, you’re certainly entitled to think as you like. But do me a favor: Keep it to yourself!