Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Calling down God's wrath

You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them! 
2 Timothy 3:1-5

When I saw the image of a man and woman wearing matching T-shirts printed with a provocative message, and smiling, the passage from 2 Timothy came to mind. I too am a sinner, and my heart still harbors prejudices and resentments. Even when I rise up to defend my God—an impossibility!—or righteousness—something I only see in Jesus—I offend both God and righteousness, because I have no business doing either. It is my own sinfulness I am actually defending.

We are always glad to stone ‘the other adulteress,’ not the one that lives inside us. That’s why Jesus comes and humbles Himself even further, by crouching down and writing our sins in the dust our feet have trodden upon. He does not want to shame us publicly by verbal reproach, as we like to do to others. Instead, He writes out our sins and covers them with His shadow, leaving it to us to recognize our sins and escape the judgment of others, till we meet Him again.

For we will, we must, meet Him again, and in that rendezvous we shall hear either, ‘I have never known you,’ or ‘Enter into the joy of your Lord.’ All our righteousness, the filthy rags we wore when we proudly contrasted ourselves with other sinners, will be visible to everyone, but most horribly by Him who will ask us, ‘How did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ and then command, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him out into the outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

We do not know whom we are injuring when we do the sort of thing that couple is shown doing. Themselves ignorant and untaught by wisdom, they flaunt their righteous rags tainted with the blood of their brothers and sisters. They do not know that it is Christ they are mocking because they deny that He has come in the flesh, even in the flesh of the lowest sinner, as immoral and as criminal as the thief that hung beside Christ on the Cross, whom He gathered into paradise, because of his trust.

Let God be God, my brothers and sisters. Let God be God. Let Him come to judge the world in righteousness and in truth, for One alone is worthy, One is Lord, Jesus Christ, by whose mercy and forbearance we are still alive, still have time to repent, to learn how to love the way our heavenly Father loves, to become perfect. If you can be safe, do not put yourselves in danger. To follow Jesus, to do what we see Him doing and to speak what we hear Him saying, is to be safe.

Yes, blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 
Matthew 5:6.

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