Lotto Winner or Believing Sinner?

This week, one of our members asked me if I had seen this news bit on television.  At that time, I had not.  Quoting the story, it said,

A Long Island man proved that although money doesn’t grow on trees, it may sprout up in hymnals after he prayed for his mom to hit a jackpot the day before she won $1 million in the lottery.  And the divine intervention doesn’t stop there — the newly minted millionaire, a staunch Catholic, says the winnings have brought her heathen son back into the religious fold.

“God performed two miracles, a true miracle!” a tearful Gloria Bentivegna declared yesterday, clutching her $1 million check from the New York Lottery.

Sal Bentivegna, 26, never saw eye to eye with his mom’s beliefs, describing himself as somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist.  “She’s always wanted me to feel what she feels and the belief she has in God; but I need physical proof in my life,” said Sal, a car audio installation technician from Smithtown.

“God, I don‘t know if you’re real or not, but if you are there, please let my mother win a million dollars,” he cynically implored in the casino. “It was off the cuff at the slot machines,” Sal said. “If Jesus wants me to believe in him, that‘s what he’ll do.”

INTERESTING COMMENTS, RIGHT?  What say you?  Here is what I think:

1.  God has nothing to prove to anyone.  The Bible says, The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork (Ps. 19).  According to Romans chapter one, God has given us the natural light of creation and conscience to prove to us His existence.  He has nothing to prove to mankind.  He is and forever shall be.  Jesus said to the Pharisees, Before Abraham was, I AM.   

Jesus Christ proved His reality when He took on human flesh at Bethlehem, becoming a man without ceasing to be God (Phil. 2:5-9).  History is His-story, revealing that Jesus Christ truly existed and that this same Jesus died on the cross of Calvary to bleed and die for our sins.  God has nothing to prove.  He proved it all when He gave Himself for us.

When the rich man died in Luke chapter sixteen, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.  

Not only does God have nothing to prove, He asks faith upon the record of the Bible itself.  If a man in Hell would not believe the preaching of a man released from Hell, then an agnostic would not believe in the God of the Bible.  THE SCRIPTURES ARE GOD’S DEFENSE OF HIMSELF.

2.  A renewed belief in God is not the same as Bible salvation.  Sal may have come back to an acceptance of God’s existence but that is all he came to.    What is necessary for a man’s salvation is recognition of his sin (For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God- Rom. 3:23), a recognition of Jesus Christ as God’s appointed Mediator for sin (For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus- I Timothy 2:5), and confession in the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ (That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth, the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved- Rom. 10:9).    James, the half-brother of our Lord said, Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble (James 2:19).  

3.  It would be a shame to have a million dollars and die in your sins.  Jesus said in Matthew 16:26-27,  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.  All the money in the world cannot buy a Saviour, an assurance of salvation or any other spiritual benefit.  Money may temporarily satisfy; but there is a God-shaped void in each man’s life.  Only Jesus satisfies that void.
God had nothing to prove to that man; He already vindicated his love.  Instead of seeking “stuff,” seek the Saviour.  That is an inheritance that will last for eternity.

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