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Posts Tagged ‘Mercy and Judgement’

Thought for Today

Mercy

“You have magnified Your mercy
which You have shown to me in saving my life.
And I am not able to escape to the mountain
lest some evil overtake me and I die.
Behold, now, this city is near, to flee there,
and it is a little one. Please let me escape there!”
Genesis 19:19

This is the first instance in which mercy is mentioned in the scriptures. God’s impending judgement upon Sodom could not be executed until Lot left the city (because of Abraham’s prayer). God told Lot to go to the mountain to be safe but Lot was fearful and called upon God’s mercy to circumvent God’s will! Rather than obeying God he used God’s mercy to walk in a partial obedience. Such is the half-hearted response to God throughout the history of man. God granted Lot’s request but it is a sad testimony.

This scripture came to mind the other day as I was praying. I found myself asking God for His mercy to do His will. Not only did the above scripture come to mind but also the following:

“For this reason I make request to you,
brothers, by the mercies of God,
that you will give your bodies as a living offering,
holy, pleasing to God, which is the worship
it is right for you to give him”
Romans 12:1 (BBE)

These two passages show the contrasting ways in which we avail ourselves of God’s mercy; one for partial obedience and the other as a complete offering of ourselves to God. Though God may allow the partial we must recognize our tremendous need of His mercy to walk in full submission to Him. True obedience is only possible by the outworking of His mercy in our lives.

The natural man cannot walk with God; the unregenerate heart will always insist on its own way. To whatever extent our lives are yielded to Him will be the measure of His ministrations of grace and mercy being received.

“Thou in thy mercy
hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed”
Exodus 15:13

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Thought for Today

accountability

Accountability

“For WE must all appear
before the judgment seat of Christ;
that every one may receive the things done in his body,
according to that he hath done,
whether it be good or bad”
2 Corinthians 5:10

Contrary to much of the teaching of our day we are to live righteously and to admonish one another to keep His Fire burning in our hearts. If we succumb to the world and its ways we will not desire nor seek out the fellowship of others who will hold us accountable. It is in our hearts knowing that we must all appear before the Judgement seat of Christ whereby we desire the true fellowship in order to grow and walk in righteousness. They who are of the night have no inclination for these things.

The revelation of the life of those who claim to be His is known by the environment and the relationships they choose.

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise:
but a companion of fools shall be destroyed”
Proverbs 13:20

ω

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness
without requiring repentance,
baptism without church discipline,
Communion without confession,
absolution without personal confession.
Cheap grace is grace without discipleship,
grace without the cross,
grace without Jesus Christ”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Heart of a Priest

Part 7

Grace and Truth

“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,
that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble,
by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:4

The New Testament truth concerning the priesthood is in stark contrast to that of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament one was part of the priesthood by virtue of birth (with certain qualifications being met); in the New Covenant, we are made kings and priests as our hearts cooperate with the dealings of God in our lives. It is no longer a position but a call whereby the individual becomes a priest by growing in the virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ. As His Nature is imparted into our lives there is growth and a transformative work. No longer are we left powerless; His Life residing in our hearts brings change regardless of our age. It is here that we are afforded much grace. Much more than mere statements or religious doctrines, Truth is a life; nothing less than the Life of Jesus being held by faith within the core of our hearts. Living truth is in itself the expression of grace. We must submit to the working of His Way into our lives. No priest can be true if there is a diminishing of God’s Holy Word, His Call or His hatred of sin. True priests are unwavering in the ministration of truth.

Truth will never violate grace and grace will never violate truth. Jesus in dealing with the woman taken in adultery was moved with great compassion toward her. He spoke to the “religious elite” of His day concerning their own issues and then turned to the woman who was before Him and spoke the gracious words “neither do I condemn you”. Such unmerited grace! The Gospel today is full of this powerful truth, however, the complete words of Jesus are often left out of the sermons for He goes on to say “Go and sin no more”! This is Living Truth where grace and holiness meet.

“Mercy and truth are met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other”
Psalm 85:10

“For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”
John 1:17

These expressions are only known in those who have tasted of His judgements and His grace to such an extent that the two are one in word and in deed.

“And hath made* us kings and priests
unto God and his Father”
Revelation 1:6

The unity of these ministrations is evidence that one has walked with God. The imprint of His holiness breaks our hearts. The Word of reconciliation to our brothers and sisters and those who do not yet know Him can only be borne by those in whom beats the heart of a priest.

Many years ago, while teaching a class on electricity and attempting to explain the basics of electrons and molecular concepts, I got thinking about salt. Salt is composed of two elements: sodium and chloride. We are called to be salt in this world, to minister him in every phase of our lives. Salt, like truth, is composed of two elements each of which are poisonous; but combined in God’s wisdom salt becomes indispensable to us. It heals, it preserves and it generally makes things more palatable. Religious ideas of grace or holiness are also deadly. Grace without holiness or holiness without grace will destroy the very fabric of a man’s soul. However, combined in the life of the Son they are the means of my salvation and of those around me.

Men and women who bear this living truth know full well the horrors of who they are apart from Him but in the piercing revelation of His light they cannot help but preach righteousness. Isaiah beheld God (Isaiah 6) and was instantly aware of his own condition (as well as all other men) yet he was a flaming expression of God’s truth and holiness. Those who have seen God cannot preach any other Gospel. They cannot make room for compromise within their own hearts or in the lives of those around them. He who is Holy has called us to be holy.

The garments of the High Priest in the Old Testament were white linen with the colors of Blue, Purple and Red woven in. Each of these colors speak of the wondrous virtues of our Great High Priest which become ours as we walk with Him. The Blue speaks of His Holiness and the Red speaks of Grace and Mercy (Redemption). The royal colour Purple is the result of the blue and the red mingled together (mercy and truth combined into one expression)  to reveal the attributes of Our King.

These things cannot be learned by books or teachings. They become ours through the medium of obedience to our Great High Priest. It must be by the Spirit and through the Spirit until we so live in Him that they are expressed through us IN the Holy Spirit. This is the making of the heart of a true priest of God.

*Note: See Heart of a Priest Part 5 Greek Meaning

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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HE WILL REST IN HIS LOVE

“…He will rest in his love”
ZEPHANIAH 3:17

John in his epistles makes some very startling statements, one of them being “God is Love”. Whenever love is used in relation to people it is always spoken as a verb, it is something we do or express. John’s profound statement reveals that love is not just something God does it is what He IS in Himself. Since He IS Love, everything He does flows from that one central point of His being which is governed by what He is. All of His justice, judgment, wisdom and righteousness are governed by LOVE. In order for us to understand such high and holy things we must recognize that it is impossible to separate love from all of His other attributes. God being who He is is incapable of internal conflicts; Holiness is never in conflict with Mercy, Judgement and Forgiveness meet without compromise, and Grace and Truth kiss in the Son.

Zephaniah is a Book of Judgment. It is a Book that prophesies of tremendous destruction and suffering upon His people. It is a book for today. It is a book whose very name means “hidden of YHWH”. It is a writing that pronounces great judgements upon Judah, Jerusalem and upon the surrounding nations for their idolatry, disobedience, apathy and unrighteousness. Love is the reins of our God. He knows that sin, idolatry and disobedience left unchecked will bring the human race into the very bowels of hell itself. Every act of selfishness is an offense to Him. Every impure motive, every attempt at deceit and hypocrisy is the very horror that keeps people from the glory and wonder of truth. For LOVE itself is the full expression of truth in substance and reality. In Corinthians Paul writes that “love thinks no evil”, and “seeks not its own way”. These are the fruits of the very Spirit of Truth. It is no wonder that in Zephaniah, after all of the pronouncements of incomprehensible judgments we read… “He will rest in His Love”. For at the end of all His judgements the scriptures declare that men will learn righteousness. When evil is judged and hypocrisy is destroyed then will God rejoice over His own, He will joy over them with singing. When righteousness and truth prevail God rejoices over His creation and peace and joy reign in the hearts of men.

Prior to the pouring forth of His wrath upon His Own He speaks of her ways and her insolence…

“Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!
She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction;
she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.
Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves;
they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.
Her prophets are light and treacherous persons:
her priests have polluted the sanctuary,
they have done violence to the law.
The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity:
every morning doth He brings His judgment to light,
he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame…”
ZEPHANIAH 3:1-5

In the midst of such wickedness in His house and the things which are committed in His Name God must rise up to restore righteousness and judge evil. Even through all of this “God is in the midst” and “He will not do iniquity” and “every morning He brings His judgement to light” for He fails not yet the unjust continue on in their wicked ways.

Peter declares that “Judgement must begin in God’s House” even before the nations of the world.

“For the time is come
that judgment must begin at the house of God:
and if it first begin at us,
what shall the end be of them
that obey not the gospel of God?”
1 PETER 4:17

We see this same truth in Zephaniah as God’s anger turns from His house to the unbelieving…

“I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate;
I made their streets waste, that none passeth by:
their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man,
that there is none inhabitant.
I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction;
so their dwelling should not be cut off,
howsoever I punished them:
but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings”
ZEPHANIAH 3:6-7

God’s judgements are proportional to the stubbornness and rebellion of men’s hearts. He sends devastation and great punishments. If they do not repent He brings greater consequences for His motive is redemption and His reins are love and mercy.

“Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord,
until the day that I rise up to the prey:
for my determination is to gather the nations,
that I may assemble the kingdoms,
to pour upon them mine indignation,
even all my fierce anger:
for all the earth shall be devoured
with the fire of my jealousy”
ZEPHANIAH 3:8

When men fail to repent God becomes determined to pour out fierce anger and indignation and the earth will be engulfed in the fire of His jealously. The Day of the Lord is at hand and we are standing upon the very brink of the summation of all that He has purposed. What are the results of His judgements?

“For then will I turn to the people a pure language,
that they may all call upon the name of the Lord,
to serve him with one consent…”
ZEPHANIAH 3:9

“I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people,
and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.
The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies;
neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth:
for they shall feed and lie down,
and none shall make them afraid”
ZEPHANIAH 3:12-13

The result of God’s judgments is people who are free from iniquity (self will), lying, deceit and pride. His love as expressed in judgement will bring forth His desired end: a pure and holy people.

God will rest in His love, He will conqueror all and “…the Lord alone will be exalted in that day”! Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Brian Troxel

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