Purging Wickedness

For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong;” -Psalm 5:4-5 (NIV)

In His perfect holiness God cannot tolerate sin. It breaks His heart when He sees man, created in His image, under the mercy of tyranny and Google+Photoinjustice. Therefore, it is no wonder that in Isaiah 1:17, God calls His children to, “…learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” We can take assurance in the fact that God will always stand behind a just and righteous cause for it is in His nature to do so. He is the God of Truth, and though men may deceive and malign, He will expose their lies and will make sure that His Truth alone triumphs over all.

But how quick are we to overlook the wickedness that we allow to reside in our hearts? It is easy to condemn others for their failings and we may even take a twisted pleasure in declaring that the wicked will pay the penalty for their depravity. However, doing so elevates our pride in our own self-righteousness at the expense of ignoring our own glaring faults. Unless we come to the realization that all men, including ourselves, have fallen short of God’s holy standards and that man can only be made righteous through the indwelling of Christ, we are in no position to speak against the decadence of those around us. We must remember that God hated wickedness so much that He sought to redeem the world from its grasp. Through the sacrifice and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, all who come to Him are free from the oppression of their sinful nature. As children of Christ, wickedness will only persist if we have failed to allow Christ to carry out His restorative work in our lives. When we go astray, God will make it known to us through His Holy Spirit residing within us. Only if we listen to His voice and allow Him to purge us of all unrighteousness will we be able to stand up for His truth and righteousness in the world around us. Through Him we will come to the understanding that sin needs to be crushed not only outside ourselves but within as well through God’s redemptive power.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Being Generous and Just

“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.” -Psalm 112:5 (NIV)

Our culture has taught us to be tight-fisted. When we have been fed with subtle messages which tell us to essentially hoard as much as we can and trust no one, we tend to become rather insular in our giving. Consequently, generosity is looked down upon as a sign of weakness and naivety because it requires us to open ourselves and all that we have; thus making us susceptible to manipulation and exploitation. Since we don’t want that to happen, we harden ourselves and become guarded in an effort to protect what we have and our self-esteem. Why should we open ourselves only to get trampled on? But, when we have built our sense of ease on material things, the distrust and possessiveness we have fostered will only cripple us.

God has implored us to be good stewards of what He has graciously given to us. In response, our stewardship should lead us to generously give to others all that is truly His. He loves a cheerful giver; one who gives out of love and concern of the other while not expecting anything in return. It is how Christ loves us. He was generous with Himself by sacrificing His own life in order to pay for our sins so that we may be free from its shackles and have eternal life. Therefore, there can be no room for avarice in the heart of the child of God. When we begin to see that nothing truly belongs to us and that everything really belongs to God, we will know the weight of our so-called treasures in relation to God’s eternity. All our wealth and possessions will count as nothing to us and when we surrender them to God, we will be able to be a blessing to others and find that we too will be blessed. We will also be reminded of the importance of not taking advantage of other people’s charity. Just as we cannot take advantage of the grace of God by deliberately persisting in our sin, we cannot abuse those who graciously extend the hand of kindness. When the Spirit of God has consumed our lives, we will be able to be obedient to His calling on our lives to be generous with what we have and to likewise act with integrity when under the benevolence of someone else. By doing this, we will show to those around us that the God we serve is one of compassion and justice.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Love Before Justice

“without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,” -2 Timothy 3:3 (NIV)

It has been argued that revolutionaries are amongst the most loving people in the world. In some cases there does appear to be a hint of truth in that statement. So great is their love for their nation and countrymen that they will risk all that they have in the service of creating a better society for all to live in. However, because a revolutionary’s love is but mere human love, it can easily be hijacked by sin. In their zeal, a revolutionary is quick to find enemies and persecute them with ruthless brutality. Their love does not extend to those they have deemed deserving to be punished for their crimes, whether real or imagined. Thus in the past century so many innocent lives have been snuffed out by these revolutionaries who claim to love by taking justice to a revolting extreme in the name of weeding out so-called “villains”.

Justice is something that is desirable and good. God Himself is a God of justice and desires that His righteousness be upheld. Yet too often we get carried away by the cause of justice and allow ourselves to fall into sin. How often do we look down upon those guilty of heinous crimes with anger or scorn? How often do we relish the thought of them receiving the harshest of sentences? It seems that we quickly forget Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:22 that, “anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” All of us are deserving of punishment under God’s holy standards. None of us, despite all our efforts to live moral lives can ever match God’s standards and vindicate ourselves before Him. Yet because God is a God of love He wants to redeem us so that we may not face eternal judgement, and instead partake in the joy and hope which comes from being in a relationship with Him. Through Christ’s death the penalty for our sins has been paid in full and by His resurrection we are made new in His sight. What right then do we have to withhold love and forgiveness from others when Christ Himself has forgiven us? When we have allowed His Spirit to take control of our attitudes, His love will overflow from within us, bringing healing and hope to those who desperately need it.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.