God’s Goodness and Severity

Romans 11:22   (KJV)   22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

God is good and severe; God is loving and just; God is Father and Lord; God is gracious and holy; God is to be loved and feared. All facets of God’s nature are true; one ought to not be sacrificed for the other; one ought to not be rejected in preference of another. All Symbol of scales is made of stones on the cliffof them have to be embraced. I’ve observed so many people becoming very passionate about one of God’s natures and in doing so undermining the value of another, perhaps unawarely.

“Behold;” take a look; observe it; notice: God is both good and severe. He is loving, gentle, kind; He is also holy, stern, strict, serious. His Fatherhood is a good, balanced Fatherhood. He loves and disciplines. He doesn’t rear spoiled kingdom kids.  It’s clearly explicit: “on them which fell,” to those who live in disobedience, He is severe. That’s not birthed out of thoughtless and angry emotion or passion. That springs forth from His wisdom and patience.

On the other hand, “if thou continue in His goodness,” if we continue to live faithfully in the light of His goodness, He continues to pour out more goodness to us than we deserve. What God gives to us is always way more abundant than what our actions merit—He is gracious, that is. And it’s important that we heed these words soberly. He is more serious about it than how a lot of believers think and teach. If we fall and don’t stay down, if we don’t continue in His goodness, we “also”—which could mean it’s been true to others already—“shalt be cut off.”

Instead of being quick to interpret those words away to fit our emphasis on the doctrine of love and grace, my loving encouragement is that we please consider the severity of those words more than we probably have been willing to before. In the first place, our loving and gracious God included them in His recorded Words for loving and gracious reasons. He’s not hating on us in recording those words.

Fire for the Lukewarm

Revelation 3:20   (KJV)   20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

It’s always gratifyingly comforting to know that our precious Lord Jesus wants to be constantly with us. He gave us His word: He will never leave or forsake us: He will be with us to the end of the age. People don’t always have the same level of appreciation for this. revelation-3-20-fire-for-the-lukewarmThere are those who don’t believe His existence; there are those who prefer Him not to exist; there are those who pursue morality, but they reject Christ.

Then there’s the church. In the church, we find those who still make wrong decisions and who pursue wrong priorities. Our best will still fall short. God will always be true and faithful; the church wants to be but isn’t always. There are those who lose their steam, their fire, their passion. Somehow, they get taken over by different interests, like material possessions, or even immoral desires.

Ungodliness belongs to the world, not the church. We fall; God knows and understands we will; He knows our frame; He knows our weaknesses. But He’s not pleased when we sit (stay) in the seat of the scornful. He’s particularly clear about this: He spews out the lukewarm. We don’t ever want to find ourselves in this dangerous state; we don’t want to face the Lord and realize that we’re wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Our eyes our set on true riches: the Pearl of Great Price. And our feet are set on the straight and narrow.

For those who humbly find themselves in this fearfully risky stage of lingering in wrong priority and desire, linger no more; there’s hope. Jesus, in His amazingly enduring patience and love, is knocking. It’s best to open the door, let Him come in, and let Him take His rightful place seated on your life’s throne. He will kindle the fire of your godly passion once again.

Seed of Holiness

1 John 3:9   (KJV)   Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Our heart deeply yearns that we glorify our holy God in the way we live. What a great honor to be instruments of our Master’s praise. It’s a wonderful privilege showing people that there are real believers—people who truly follow Him. Our treasured relationship with Him goes beyond cerebral; it totally involves our hearts; it plainly shows through the 1-john-3-9-seed-of-holinessindisputable way we live. Our confident confession and our visible actions are in harmony with each other. God has made us righteous; we show it well.

Others say believers are total hypocrites; that’s quite understandable, but it doesn’t mean they’re right. Hypocrites show something different without an inch of inclination to change. True followers of the Lord Jesus aren’t perfect, but changes are happening progressively; we truly desire change, we passionately pursue change. We try our best getting rid of our sinful ways and anything that displeases our beloved Savior. If we show ourselves holy, it’s because God has made us holy and we want to be holy.

It’s our deep desire to have God’s seed in us growing and manifesting increasingly more. Personally, in my humble understanding of God’s Word, a true believer’s life and lifestyle is characterized with goodness and godliness; a sinful lifestyle and true Christianity is a contradiction. Yes, we’re not perfect; we still fail, sin, and fall, but we don’t make a habit and practice of it. It breaks our hearts when we do; we don’t glory in it. Our search isn’t on how to be better in sinning without being caught or exposed, rather, our journey is a continuous quest towards our Father’s greater pleasure. Positionally, He’s always pleased with us; praise God, He also gives us additional honor and privilege of pleasing Him practically.

Too Good for the World

Hebrews 11:38   (KJV)   38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

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Believers who are persecuted and whose very lives are threatened that they have to lose their homes, leave their communities, and forced to leave life’s comforts willingly undergo such experiences not because they are not worthy of this world—that they are below the world’s standards. The converse is true; it’s the world that’s not worthy of them. That’s why they would rather suffer than compromise with the world.

There is the world; there is us. Our precious Lord Jesus makes it clear: there is no “unequally-yoked” marriage between the two. The world utterly hates us because we love our Lord. The world hated our Master; much more so will it hate His followers. No sweat. We’re not missing out on anything. We’ve been blessed with everything we need for life and godliness; our super-gracious heavenly Father gives us everything for our enjoyment.

Others can’t comprehend this. We live in ironies—or do we? Whatever we give up for our Lord, He returns to us—thirty, sixty, hundredfold, and with them, suffering. We have nothing, but we have everything. We live by faith in God that can move mountains, shut the mouths of lions, quench the violence of fire, bring people back from the dead; it’s by that same faith in our God that we are tortured, cruelly mocked, scourged, imprisoned, stoned, sawed, struck with the sword, beheaded, displaced, became fugitives. Ah, these are ironic in the world’s perception, but not with eyes of faith. We count all our earthly experiences for our Lord Jesus as honor and privilege; we see them working altogether for His sovereign purpose and for our best; we also see beyond all this bodily experiences–we see the glory awaiting. That’s why we don’t turn back.

 

Escape From Temptation

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1 Corinthians 10:13   (KJV)   13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

We are victorious over trials, temptations, and sin. We have God’s assurance from His Word: there’s no temptation that’s uniquely ours. Whatever test comes our way, we are confident that our good God and heavenly Father has already examined it, filtered it, and allowed it because it’s for our best. He’s strengthening us through it; He knows we can handle it. He makes sure that we have a way out.

Our precious Lord and Savior Jesus taught us to pray; He wants us to pray that God would lead us not into temptation—and God won’t. But temptations come; He allows them to come for purposes greater than we all can figure out. They attack from within us and from the outside of us. They come with power and allure that has dropped many of the saints. I’d like to repeat that: many of the saints… too many.

From times of old to now, God’s people have been struck down in staggering numbers. Millions of Israelites—millions died in the wilderness failing to enter the Promised Land—the land they looked forward to and longed for. Preachers, saints who have worldwide influences—powerful people of God through whom God moved and touched millions of people all around the world—failed to take God’s escape routes, gave in and indulged their sinful desires, and were destroyed in the process. We have more than enough examples to learn from. We are careful; even the strongest of us are aware of the fact that we can fail. We don’t have to learn through our own experience. When temptations come, we don’t fall; we rise higher.

Faith or Fall

Hebrews‬ ‭10:39‬   ‭(KJV‬‬)   But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Drawing back because of suffering is a step to greater suffering.

The antidote to backsliding, drawing back, or turning away from God is faith.

The sufferings we experience for being Christians tempt us to fall away; the indescribable rewards we receive and will receive for living by faith as Christians encourage us to be stedfast. 

The greatest reward of living by faith is our ultimate salvation. 

The greatest blessing in our salvation is our Savior.

To the Finish

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This is our prayer and declaration: we won’t draw back; we won’t turn away from God; that will be to our huge horrible disadvantage; perish the thought. We will persevere; we will endure to the end; we will enjoy the fullness of our salvation. God isn’t pleased with anyone who turns away; it’s our pleasure to please Him. He Himself promised not to leave us or forsake us. He is with us and will be with us throughout eternity.

We can count on His Word. No matter what the situation is, God doesn’t ever cower away. He doesn’t ever retreat. He fights our battles with us; many times, He even fights our battles for us. He climbs the mountains with us; He walks through the fire with us; He faces our challenges with us; goes through storms with us. He never took us this far just to leave us alone. He never taught us to fly just to let us fall. He’s with us for the long haul.

Yes, we face hardships, discouragements, and terrifying threats, but we hold on. All these trials are momentary and the rewards are unimaginable. God knows how to give good gifts to His children. He’s aware—He pays attention to everything we’re going through. There are temptations to give up, but we patiently wait. Our precious Lord Jesus is coming for sure, and He’s coming very soon. When He does, oh what a glorious day of rejoicing that will be. It will be worth it all-infinitely way more.