Matthew 20:10-12 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ĎThese last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat."
In the explanation to the 3rd article of the creed we learn "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in my Lord Jesus Christ, or come to him, but the Holy Ghost has called me by the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith." In other words all the credit for salvation, and anything good goes to God, to him be the glory forever. Amen.
In learning about the 3rd article we also learn that "man, by nature, is spiritually blind, dead, and an enemy of God." If this is the natural state of man, what should we expect from man, apart from God, for that is what our nature is, for sin separates us from God, and we are born in sin. Yes, I want to speak of original sin, for that is manís natural state. You donít hear much about original sin these days, and thatís part of the problem. I donít want to be pessimistic, but since man by nature is sinful, then the only thing we should expect from man, apart from God, is sin. Let me say that again, the ONLY thing we should expect from NATURAL man is SIN.
If there is anything good in the world, the credit belongs to God. If men do anything good, the credit goes to God, who is at work around us, and who has sent the law to restrain the coarse outburst of sin, and to show us right and wrong, good and evil. Now God puts this knowledge into every heart, but the more you sin, the more you silence the conscience that God gave. God gave everyone a conscience so that they would know that their sin deserved punishment, and knowing what they deserved for sin, that they would turn from sin, and turn to God. In plain words, when we see men turning from sin, the credit goes to God. When we see people who restrain themselves from sin, we are seeing God at work in lives around us. Whenever we see anything good we are seeing the hand of God in our world.
This is important, because Humanism, our natural religion, says that man is good by nature. Humanism says we have rights. Humanism says that if we educate people about good and evil, they will choose good. At its heart, Humanism makes man out to be god. Humanism is idolatry, a false religion, and a religion in which there is no salvation. Can you look at the world today, and say we are getting better and better? But more than that, Humanism is where we get our ideas of fairness. And fairness is a cancer which is killing society. For there are many who believe that things ought to be fair, and there are wolves who gladly let them believe this, for they will gladly feast on these gullible lost lambs. The wolves know life isnít fair, wolves know that you take what you can get. And so wolves continue to teach humanism, because it builds the flock of gullible lost lambs which are the food for wolves.
Quite simply, if God were fair, NO ONE would every get to heaven. Why? Because all it takes is one sin, one unforgiven sin to damn. Why? Because if we want to receive what we have earned, we would all receive Hell. Eternal Life is the gift of God, by grace through faith, in Jesus Christ, and that is the ONLY way.
Humanism is not new, it is the malady our text speaks of. In the text, some laborers though that they had earned something by their work. They did not realize that they had already owed much more that what they did, and that what they were doing was just the minimum requirement of the law, an obligation for all. There is a benefit for keeping the law, but that benefit is NOT earning forgiveness, salvation, or merit. The benefit of keeping the law is that you do not incur the wrath of those who enforce the law.
But when we receive what we need, it is always more than what we have earned, and more than we deserve. God gives his gifts as he chooses, and fairness has nothing to do with the giving of gifts. Fairness says we deserve something, and all that we by our sins deserve, is punishment and death -- who wants to collect those wages? And so we give thanks to God that we receive salvation as a gift in Jesus Christ our Lord.