Monday, May 23, 2011

May We Not Fall

I say to our heart, "Be careful! There is a real place of danger and a real risk of falling from God's kingdom if we abide in lawlessness. We will never have peace except as we remain at peace with Jesus. As it says in the Scriptures, "'They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.' Therefore I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest (Ps. 95:10-11, ESV).'" What a heavy hand of grace and discipline You carry oh God, to corner us into the perfect inheritance which Jesus secured for His people in the cross, resurrection and ascension! Is it not so good of God to corner us so, in such a way that the choice is simple. Either we receive this grace to fully enter into His kingdom and all of its values, or we turn from it and go the way of destruction. And as the scriptures say, "'Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. [...]I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me you workers of lawlessness (Matthew 7:21,23 ESV)."'"

We must receive what God says to us now, so that these difficult pronouncements can serve as grace to us, cultivating the pure and clean fear of God in us for our journey towards knowing and being with Him fully in this life. If we do not receive this as a grace now, there's the risk that it will be the pronouncement of God's judgment on us later. Right now is a window of opportunity and grace to respond to God meekly, for He is kind, fair and merciful. Later, His fair judgment will come against all within us which remains wicked that we continue to identify with instead of surrenduring it to death on the cross which Christ calls us to carry like He did. And yet, even when God's judgment comes, it is grace too, for it is hopeful for the great fruit which will come as a result of it. It's only when rebellious people harden their hearts even against God's strict judgment that these words in Matthew 7 become a pronouncement of condemnation for all of those outside of Christ (for in Jesus there is no condemnation). Make no mistake: Now is the time to utterly die to every trace of wickedness and hypocrisy and pretense in our lives. Wickedness will destroy us and this world, if we do not follow Jesus in overcoming wickedness by dying to it and receiving the life of God. Our real identity is in Jesus, so why should we feel offended when He reveals and judges wickedness inside of us that we still identify with? We should thank Him for doing it, even though it hurts for as it says in HEBREWS, He disciplines those He loves.

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