Saturday, February 7, 2009

Am I God?

What God can and cannot do is something of a debate. Another debate altogether is what will God do in a certain situation. We can discern this by looking at His character, His promises, and His actions. The issue of current discussion is what happens in the life of a believer when God stops being number one, holiness becomes a side issue, fleshly and soulish concerns overbear on the spiritual.

It is clear at the outset of revelation that God cannot be in the presence of sin. Adam was cast from the garden. Death takes hold on the sinner. Men have died for thousands of years in sin and depravity. Mountains melt in His presence. God is Holy. Man has unalterably been found guilty in the sight of a Holy and Just God.

Paul speaks concerning man's universal choice to turn from God,

"And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." (1)

Man spoke of God (or gods) and spoke of goodness and justice but made the elements of this world good and just. They made their ideas and selves God. This is the sin that stretches back to Lucifer.

When Christ paid the legal penalty for our sins, those who are covered in the blood of Christ are made in a right position with God. So how then does God deal with those who are His, and justified in His sight?

It is easy to get into a state of existence that cruises by without regard or even much more than a passing assent to God's presence or God's state as Lord in our lives. It is easy to let one day pass without prayer or meditation on the Word or Presence of our Lord and Savior. Once that step it taken, the trek towards consistent apathy, and avoidance of moral judgments and choices becomes more than easy. It becomes natural.

God judges those in the world. That is clear. The judgment of them is not the job of the Christian. Christ's example in the prodigal son, the one sheep, and the sinner woman is clear.(2) God is merciful to those who are returning to Him. Those who He is calling receive kindness and mercy. This is God's character. This should also be an example to those of us who are seeking to be like God in relation to the world.

But how does that merciful kindness interweave with His Justness and Righteousness? Justification does not make God blind to our sin.

God is just in condemning those who have sinned and are without the promise of Christ's redemption. And yet He is not Unjustly cruel,

" "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. " (3)

So there is nothing in the God's directions towards us that ought to lead us to be cruel or disrespectful towards our fellow humans. To remember the God has designed them for a purpose ought to be enough to cause us to act with a certain level of respect, whether He designed them for wrath or glory. (4) Above and beyond that, we do not know whether it is or is not in their lot to become a child of God or not.

Consider this, God deals with His children as a disciplining Father,

" Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not row weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons." (5)

If God is not convicting you through your sin, nor chastising you in correction, He is not treating you like a child of His, but a child of the world. O what sorrow it would be to have God say, "I am working in your life, but you are not of Me." O what sorrow it would be to hear Christ say, "I knew you not."! This is the nightmare of one who loves God.

He, in His grace, may separate us from fellowship in order to deal with our sin,

"It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."" (6)

Such a blessing is true and good fellowship. A separation from fellowship can be a blessing of course (Jesus in the wilderness, Moses on the mountain, etc.). Trials and tests are blessings. But for God to remove it in order to draw us closer to His standard of holiness. O what a tragedy! What a reason for sadness and repentance! It is up to the believer to seek God's face through trying times.

Is God number one in your life? Does He have cause to put you through trials to burn away the things that distract you from Him? Have you given it all to Him? Is your faith an empty hand or do you think that you bless God with your presence? Do you assume He will let you continue on the way you are going or do you fear He will let you continue on the way you are going?

I say let God be God. Let the relationships I have in this world fall to shambles. Let my kingdom of dirt and sand crumble. Let my name be cursed by every last person in this world. All of this, if only I have the favor of my Lord.

"And one of them, a lawyer, asked him[Jesus] a question to test him. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

1) Romans 1:28-32
2) Luke 7:36-50
3) Matt 5:43-48
4) Romans 9:21
5) Heb 12:1-8
6) I Cor 5