Set in Stone

2 Timothy 2:19   (KJV)   19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

There are argumentable teachings in the Bible—teachings that aren’t so clear; Christians interpret them differently and take positions that are often diametrically in contradiction to each other. Don’t be alarmed; none of these teachings have to do with 2 Timothy 2.19 - Set in Stonesalvation or God in His nature or being. But there are teachings set in stone. Here are two of them: God knows those who belong to Him; those who belong to Him must depart from iniquity.

We believe in the omniscience of God; He doesn’t make mistakes when it comes to who are His and who aren’t, who are saved and who are lost. His part is covered perfectly well. He’s not negligent; He’s not forgetful; He won’t have any “oops” moment. Our part is our part. Although we’ve heard it often stated: “Christianity is not about rules; it’s not about dos and don’ts; we’re not under the Law,” this doesn’t mean we’re unruly and lawless.

We have a loving relationship with our Father; we also have a very respectful relationship with our God. Our Father is our God; our God is our Father; we love Him; we fear Him. We want to do the things He wants us to do because we love Him. But I’ll be honest. In our imperfection; we don’t always do things He wants us to do; that’s when we ought to do them even when we don’t feel like doing them. It’s settled; one of the things we want to do, we ought to do, and we must do, is to depart from—turn away from iniquity, unholiness, unrighteousness, evil, or ungodliness. Yes, whether we want to or not, we must.

 

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.

Transformed Hearts

Romans 2:29   (KJV)   29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. That’s a saying we’ve probably heard many times, but its truthfulness can’t be ignored. It’s not that outside appearances aren’t important to God, it’s that He knows that the true nature of a person is found and comes Romans 2.29 - Transformed Heartsfrom the heart. The heart is the wellspring of life. Our words and actions, whether they be good or evil, are just natural external expressions of what’s abundantly stored within us.

Obedience is good, good works are that—good, but it’s obviously possible for people to obey and do good things externally—as great pretenders.  To do good, even when forced, for the purpose of helping others has some merits, but doing good for the purpose of deceiving others is reprehensible. It’s possible to have a heart that really desires to worship, serve, and obey God—a heart that sincerely desires to do good to others. It’s a heart changed by God’s Spirit.

One of the best evidences of a Spirit-transformed heart is that it’s “praise is not of men, but of God.”  For us, living good, upright, and godly lives isn’t to impress people but to bring their attention to the Him Who made us new creations as we shine our lights. He deserves our full surrender and obedience.  The truth is: He deserves everything we are and everything we have.  More so, He deserves infinitely more than everything we all are and everything we all have.  We see perfect sense in giving Him no less than our all and our best.

Goodness and Mercy

Psalm 23:6   (KJV)   6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

psalm-23-6-goodness-and-mercyCan we really believe this? Do we really believe this? As believers, we can and we do. This is one of the most reassuring and comforting statements in God’s Word. This single Psalm alone shows blessings upon blessing that no one else but God alone gives. Provision, rest, peace, forgiveness, guidance, courage, companionship, comfort, feast, protection, anointing, etc—where else can we get them? What can compare with them?

With all these—and more, it explains why we enjoy life to the fullest.  We know, despite all turmoil all around us, God’s goodness and mercy—His unfailing love will always be in our lives.

 

Divine Revelations

Acts 14:17   (KJV)   17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.

God always had ways of revealing Himself to us. All good and perfect gifts come from Him. All the love, mercy, grace, patience and every act of kindness and goodness we experienced acts-14-17-divine-revelationsfrom Him—all these are evidences of His reality—although many people aren’t aware of this. Others don’t make the connection between the wonders of creation and the existence of the Creator. Even the essentials of life: air, sunshine, rain, food, water, love, joy, peace—we enjoy all these things freely; they come from somewhere. To this, we add His miraculous interventions that make His presence, love, and power undeniable.

God is perfect in His ways; He never makes mistakes; He knows all things; He knows how to handle every situation; He is in control of all situations. Not us. The way we react is crazy. Some are wise; some aren’t. Some are considered wise by the world but are foolish before God. Believers are blessed beyond measure. The Lord has removed the scales from our eyes. But we started with a humble position of admission of our follies, our sins, our wrong choices, and our desperate need of Him.

From that lowly position, God raised us up and planted our feet in the King’s highway. We see wonders everywhere. He moves in us powerfully to shine His light—His love and power to everyone lost, blind, and dying. He moves in us to show others a more specific and clearer witness. We saw this; that’s why we who were going our own ways despite His powerful revelations finally awakened and recognized: God has been loving, calling, and wooing us.

Glorying in the Cross

galatians-6-14-glorying-in-the-cross

Galatians 6:14   (KJV)   14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

We exalt Jesus alone—not another person, not a group, not a denomination, not even ourselves. Whatever accomplishments we have: spiritual, educational, societal, or anything else—we count all of them as trash compared to what our precious Lord Jesus has accomplished. So yes, if there’s someone and something to be proud of, it’s the Lord and His loving sacrifice on the cross for our salvation. He’s the One we adore, praise, and worship.

This doesn’t mean that we got rid of righteous and godly living. I can’t overemphasize this: there’s no conflict and competition between the Gospel—the cross—and holiness. We’re not saved by our own good works, but we’re saved unto good works. They do come together. Our positional righteousness and practical righteousness don’t have a kind of disconnect; one is in a perfect state of Christ-like righteousness; the other is in a progressive state and journey towards it.

Yes, we glory in the cross. With that, we also know that it’s through that cross—that accomplishment of our dear Lord that we’ve been transformed. The world has lost its appeal to us. Our interest in this world is now rendered dead—crucified, and we’re no longer appealing to the world either. We smell like poison to them. Through what Jesus has done, we now have the Holy Spirit leading us so that we no longer plant towards our sinful desires. We don’t engage in immorality, impurity, lusts, pride, and other sins. We’re confident in Him, we live to please His Holy Spirit. We reap eternal life and not death. His Kingdom is our inheritance.

 

God is Good

Psalm 111:7   (KJV)   7 The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.

“God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.” There’s nothing evil about Him; He is good, and all He does is good. His commandments are good and they’re for our good. Contrary to what a lot of people feel and think, they’re not there to deprive us of fun and excitement. God isn’t some kind of hpsalm-111-7-god-is-good-2eavenly “kill-joy” who delights in our misery. It’s the other way around. He desires our joy. He’s given us everything for life, godliness, and enjoyment.

Some people accuse God of being unfair. Not so. The truth is, His justice is “uncorrupted” and incorruptible. No one can bribe God. That’s the reason why we can trust Him when He tells us not to retaliate when we’re wronged. When He says “Vengeance is mine,” we can let go of any desire and plan to personally exact vengeance and we can rest in His promise. We don’t have to live in anger and hurt. No one ultimately gets away with anything. Every wrong will be paid. As for accusations that God is cruel for not stopping evil, disasters, and pain; the truth is: it’s because He’s so good that He allows us to continue living. Remember, we factor in this evil and pain. For Him to terminate evil completely means He has to terminate all its causes. Sadly, we play a big part in causing evil and pain. But in His time, He will do it; He will eliminate evil completely.

At times, people who wrong us prosper. In the eyes of the world, they’re successful. There are times we get victimized and we suffer because of unjust treatments. Where’s the goodness and justice of God in all this? It’s there, and it’s absolutely intact. There is a payday someday when everything will be exposed, and everyone will be held accountable. Because God is good, because God is just, because His commandments are pure and true, we live joyfully yielded to Him. He takes good care of us. And even in those areas where we’re guilty: sins we have to give account for, sins we have to pay; we can have peace knowing that in God’s goodness and justice, He paid a full ransom for everything we owe. Bless You Lord!!!