Judgment and the Love of God

Judges Gavel
The time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God… —1 Peter 4:17

The Christian servant must never forget that salvation is God’s idea, not man’s; therefore, it has an unfathomable depth. Salvation is the great thought of God, not an experience. Experience is simply the door through which salvation comes into the conscious level of our life so that we are aware of what has taken place on a much deeper level. Never preach the experience— preach the great thought of God behind the experience. When we preach, we are not simply proclaiming how people can be saved from hell and be made moral and pure; we are conveying good news about God.

In the teachings of Jesus Christ the element of judgment is always brought out— it is the sign of the love of God. Never sympathize with someone who finds it difficult to get to God; God is not to blame. It is not for us to figure out the reason for the difficulty, but only to present the truth of God so that the Spirit of God will reveal what is wrong. The greatest test of the quality of our preaching is whether or not it brings everyone to judgment. When the truth is preached, the Spirit of God brings each person face to face with God Himself.

If Jesus ever commanded us to do something that He was unable to equip us to accomplish, He would be a liar. And if we make our own inability a stumbling block or an excuse not to be obedient, it means that we are telling God that there is something which He has not yet taken into account. Every element of our own self-reliance must be put to death by the power of God. The moment we recognize our complete weakness and our dependence upon Him will be the very moment that the Spirit of God will exhibit His power.

by Oswald Chambers

The Challenges of Forgiving Ourselves

Psalms 32:1-2

Yesterday, we considered why people fail to forgive themselves for wrongdoing. Today, let’s look at seven questions to ask yourself when you struggle with self-condemnation.

1. Why should I continue to condemn myself when the Lord no longer condemns me?

2. Is my self-condemnation drawing me into a closer relationship with God, or is it driving me further from Him?

3. What good am I doing by refusing to forgive myself?

4. Does self-condemnation help or hurt my relationships with others?

5. Does my refusal to forgive myself impress God? Does He find me more devout because of my guilt and shame?

6. Is there any biblical basis for withholding self-forgiveness?

7. How long do I intend to condemn myself? What will be the end result?

Normally, the answers to these questions are obvious. However, if you’re in the throes of self-condemnation, the truth may seem hazy.

Often the only way to work through times of self-doubt and remorse is to focus on the basics of who God is and what He wants for your life. If you are struggling with an inability to forgive yourself, prayerfully consider the seven questions above. Read them aloud, and let them work through your spirit. You may even want to open a journal or take out a sheet of paper to record your thoughts as the Lord speaks to you. Don’t be surprised by some intense wrestling in your heart as you consider these points—and as God reorders your thoughts about yourself.

The Unresting God

“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28)

The second verse of the mighty hymn “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” continues with a listing of some of His attributes. Of course, the full list of His attributes as recorded in Scripture would be very long, but many of them are pieced together here in this verse in a way which emphasizes God’s mighty works on behalf of His creation and us, His children, and His utter self-sufficiency and power.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above,
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

God’s power is inexhaustible; He needs neither rest nor refreshment. He is not like the impotent Baal, “peradventure he sleepeth” (1 Kings 18:27), unable to hear and unable to answer. God needs nothing from us. “Who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Romans 11:35-36).

He never wastes His energy nor His actions. “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). Several thoughts in the hymn are echoed by David’s praise to his Lord. “Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings” (Psalm 36:5-7). JDM

Great Preachers

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. —1 Corinthians 2:12

I’m against the idea of putting the “big preachers” on tape and playing them back to the congregations that feel they are being starved by listening to “little preachers.” Fallacy, brethren—a thousand times, fallacy!

If we could have the Apostle Paul on tape recordings and let him stand here and preach, he could do no more for you than the Holy Ghost can do, with The Book and the human conscience….

Oh, brethren, I would not detract from God’s great men, but I can safely say that that’s not what the church needs.

The church needs to listen to the inner voice and do something about it!

Lord, we’re inundated today with “big preachers.” And while we appreciate their gifts and ministries, I pray today for all who are “little preachers. “Help them not to be discouraged by their seeming smallness but to be faithful servants of Yours, declaring with great passion the message of the Book, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Man Though Guilty, Is Offered God’s Mercy

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6

It is vital to any understanding of ourselves and our fellowmen that we believe what is written in the Scriptures about human society—that it is fallen, alienated from God and in rebellion against His laws!

There is plenty of good news in the Bible, but there is never any flattery or back scratching, and what God has spoken is never complimentary to men.

Seen one way, the Bible is a book of doom. It condemns all men as sinners and declares that the soul that sinneth shall die. Always it pronounces sentence against society before it offers mercy; and if we will not own the validity of the sentence we cannot admit the need for mercy!

The coming of Jesus Christ to the world has been so sentimentalized that it means now something utterly alien to the Bible teaching concerning it. Soft human pity has been substituted for God’s mercy in the minds of millions, a pity that has long ago degenerated into self-pity. The blame for man’s condition has somehow been shifted to God, and Christ’s dying for the world has been twisted into an act of penance on God’s part. In the drama of redemption, man is viewed as Miss Cinderella who has long been oppressed and mistreated, but now through the heroic deeds of earth’s noblest Son is about to don her radiant apparel and step forth a queen. This is humanism—romantically tinted with Christianity!

Spiritual Confirmation

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. HEBREWS 10:22

The human personality has a right to be consciously aware of a meeting with God. There will be a spiritual confirmation, an inward knowledge or witness!

This kind of confirmation and witness was taught and treasured by the great souls throughout the ages.

Conscious awareness of the presence of God! I defy any theologian or teacher to take that away from the believing church of Jesus Christ!

But be assured they will try. And I refer not just to the liberal teachers. God has given us the Bible for a reason—so it can lead us to meet God in Jesus Christ, in a clear, sharp encounter that will burn on in our hearts forever and ever.

When the Bible has led us to God and we have experienced God in the crisis of encounter, then the Bible has done its first work. That it will continue to do God’s work in our Christian lives should be evident!

Dear Lord, I pray for all Christian workers who are doing the hard work of translating Scripture into foreign languages. Quicken their minds and bless their work today.