Love, Rebuke, Chastening

Revelation 3:19   (KJV)   19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

God’s love neither contradicts nor eliminates rebuke and chastening; in fact, it’s His love that necessitates them. We don’t hate or reject those loving actions of our Father, as unpleasant as they may be while we’re in them. Instead, we welcome them with open Revelation 3.19 - Love, Rebuke, Chasteninghands, heart, and mind. And we take the necessary actions to correct whatever needs correction.

We’re not only accepting of God’s rebuke and discipline; we’re humbly grateful and appreciative of them. We don’t just tolerate them; we celebrate them. And we don’t drag our feet forcing ourselves to respond and to change; we’re zealous of growing in the likeness of our precious Lord Jesus. We willingly and quickly turn away from thoughts, actions, and choices He forbids. We understand: lack of desire and passion to leave ways that break our Fathers’ heart needs dumping in itself.

Hmmm; let’s see; we repent from Lukewarnness; we want to be hot—on fire for God—passionately loving and serving Him. No, it’s not cool to be “spat out” by Dad; that’s horrible. We repent from materialism, from close-mindedness, from spiritual ineptitude; we pursue Him, eternal and imperishable treasures, wisdom, and spiritual maturity. We repent from evil, unrighteousness, and ungodliness. We choose the good, right, and godly.

Zeal for Good Works

Titus 2:14   (KJV)   14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Is this Scripture in the New Testament? Is it in the age of grace? The answer to both questions is obviously “yes.” Under the New Covenant in the age of grace, good works Titus 2.14 - Zealous for Good Worksstill matter to God. Being zealous of good works is an attitude that characterizes those who are truly His.

The passage is explicit: the reasons or at least two of the reasons why our precious Lord Jesus gave Himself  for us is  to redeem us—pay for—our freed from all iniquity, lawlessness, or wickedness, and to purify us being His peculiar, unique or special people.

Why is this very important—to me at least? Why do I want to address these supposedly obvious issues? It’s because preaching, teaching, or exhortations on obedience, holiness, purity, and good works are criticized in some circles, as if right understanding of grace necessitates discarding of these necessary pursuits.

God’s love, God’s grace, and believers’ good works and uprightness aren’t enemies: “11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:1-13).

With the Little We Have

Acts 18:25   (KJV)   25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

At times, we feel like the tasks, problems, and challenges before us are way much bigger than we can handle. We feel as if we’re unable to cope. Just thinking about them would make others tired, disappointed or want to give up. But we don’t; we know our place, our limitations, and the infiniteness of our God. From the time we trusted Him, placed our full acts-18-25-with-the-litte-we-havedependence on Him for salvation, and surrendered the control of our lives to Him, we already know that this will be the pattern of our lives: us continually dependent on Him in anything and everything.

We trust not in our own strength, understanding, or ability; we acknowledge Him in all our ways. Everyone’s already dependent on Him; there are just those of us who realize it and recognize Him for it, then there are those who don’t. But we all—believers and unbelievers alike live, move, and have our being in Him. It’s in Him and because of Him that all things consists—that we’re kept intact—held together. Because of Him we breathe; we see. All our faculties: intellectual, physical, emotional work because of Him. We don’t dictate the cells of our bodies to keep multiplying and reproducing. We don’t keep telling our minds and hearts to work. Someone else dictates and directs their efficiency.

The Lord calls us not because of us but despite us. It’s not because we’re able, but because He is. He moves in and through us, and gives us the honor of being vessels enjoying the Kingdom work, accomplishments, and victories. That’s it. In Him, we accomplish our tasks and live out our calling—no matter how small or great. We know little, but we’re excited serving Him. We go taking whatever little talent, skill, or knowledge we have. We go humbly yet confidently, knowing we have the great big Almighty God Who covers for our lack. We’re not inhibited or intimidated; our eyes are not on us, we look to Him—Him in us, and that gets us really enthusiastic introducing Him to others, and introducing others to Him.

Knowledgeable Zeal

Acts 14:19  (KJV)   19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.

They were stoned!!! This is crazy. Just prior to the arrival of the antagonists, the people were worshiping Paul and Barnabas as “gods.” Totally wrong. The apostles tried really hard to stop them, and explained to them Who the True God is; they were trying to educate them to truth, but they were persistent. They were full of zeal, but without knowledge. As quickly as them concluding that the apostles were divine, they also quickly changed their minds; persuasive words from the enemies caused them to join in and stone the apostle Paul. Forget about the amazing visible miracles, compelling words turned them away – just like that.

Zeal without knowledge is dangerous; it could lead to a lot of errors. It could harm us and hurt a lot of people. Zeal is good, but not without knowledge. Knowledge is good, but not without zeal. Both have to be present. We have to know the truth. And we have to have absolute truths as our non-negotiable foundation for our convictions. Without it, we will just be like directionless waves, tossed every which way by every wind of human opinion. And as we can easily notice, there’s a lot of opposing opinions. This is why we get a barrage of attacks. So many people today are very zealous – so passionate about their beliefs. They’re full convinced that they’re helping others – even saving them from dangerous people by presenting us as uneducated simpletons who are out to stall and hurt humanity’s progress. Why believe a three thousand year old archaic writings? For them it doesn’t make sense. They conclude that what we believe are irrelevant to our generation. They can’t explain why of course except for the fact that it contradicts their own beliefs, opinions and lifestyles. They’re passionate, but without any knowledge. Or, if they have knowledge, it’s not based on an authoritative source or foundation. We can expect continuing attacks. But let’s hold on. As the old saying goes “Truth will always prevail,” and may I add: In His time.

Dear God and Father, our one true God, the Truth, our Protector, may we live with zeal and knowledge. Please give us the wisdom to march forward unflinchingly with the Truth. Please give us the wisdom to be ready always to give an answer to every man who asks us why we believe what we believe. Please give us the courage to stand our unshakable foundation in the presence of a very antagonistic world. Please lead our steps to those whose hearts are ready to listen, understand, believe, persevere and grow with us.