Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Working it out..

After talking with a friend last night at Bible study about different aspects of God’s character not easily being balanced in our Human brains, I started thinking more and more about this: the various and oh-so-confusing characteristics of God which sometimes just seem to contradict themselves!

So I asked God to give me wisdom about the situation

as I try to reconcile the two for myself because this is something I often struggle with.

So this is me, along with you trying to negotiate these two very different views and somehow truly understand, as much as I am able in my human mind, the character of my Redeemer.

He’s a perfect mix of everything.

A God of order. The Beginning and the End. The Perfector of my [sometimes weak] faith!

When thinking of God and my sin

God’s word says we were born into Adam and into sin…

The wages of sin is death — (Romans 6:23)

To pay the penalty for these sins (so we don’t have to) a sacrifice can be made, in the OT a blood sacrifice was required (Leviticus 4:35; 5:10)

But when this death penalty is paid, our sins have been totally removed from us — they don’t count anymore (Psalms 103:12)

That with Christ it was finished (John 19:30) He was the ultimate sacrifice (1 Timothy 2:6) — your sins were forgiven.

So what about God and the consequences?

Reaping what you sow is a completely different aspect, in my opinion.

For SURE God has the power to reverse all the effects of sin and death in my life at any given time. But we as Christians sometimes still make mistakes (which are already forgiven!) but the rule still stands, You reap what you sow.

What about God’s judgement?

Well I have nothing on my own to write. So I went to what is irrefutably correct

Romans 8:1 Therefore there is not no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

Eph 2:3-5 (NIV) ...Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.

Rom 2:4 (LB) Don't you realize how patient he is being with you: Or don't you care? Can't you see that he has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.

Rom 2:4 Are you, perhaps, misinterpreting God's generosity and patient mercy towards you as weakness on his part? Don't you realize that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

2 Pet 3:15 Think of the Lord's patience as your opportunity to be saved.

1 Tim 5:24 Remember that some men's faults are obvious, and are equally obviously bringing them to judgment. The sins of other men are not apparent, but are dogging them, nevertheless, under the surface.

Job 33:27-30 ..."I sinned and perverted what was right, but I did not get what I deserved. He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light of life." God does all these things to a man--twice, even three times--to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him."

Prov 28:13 (NIV) He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Luke 6:37-38 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

Galatians 6:7-8: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."

So if you sin, it will naturally work its course in your life. There will be consequences.

It's not a punishment or a curse. And according to what I read in scripture it tells me that I can never sin big enough to block out his grace and blessings in my life. It’s not like he’s up there waiting to judge me for not following his ways to a T. I should strive to do so through the Holy Spirit’s power though.

I looked for things under the "new covenant" that was about retribution and punishment and rules etc.

And I found some things but most of them are not about him doing away with the God of the Old Testament or the laws that it had but to fulfill it and make a way for us to actually be able to follow his laws and guidelines

‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to FULFILL.” Matt. 5:17

a blog I read put it like this:

"Jesus came to teach us how we could live the Ten Commandments in a new way. He came to renew the meaning of the Old Law and provide us with new understanding."

What about God and Grace?

He chastens those he loves but there is there a period of Grace to those who are “partakers in Grace”/ Christians?

I was thinking that maybe it's like an Ameren bill..if you don't pay on time, you have a grace period where you are covered. . Anytime in that period you can pay and not be penalized. What if God's chastening is sort of the same way? The grace period being a time when the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin and is trying to lead you to repentance. Being his children I know that we have full access to his grace. No matter when! We are covered (Romans 5:2). But when we sin we still have to repent not for salvation but to remove anything that is blocking or hindering in our relationship with God. If we don’t confess then we reap the consequences of our actions both in the spiritual realm, stalled growth in our faith or spiritual regression. We oftentimes see results in the earthly realm: strained relationships, misunderstandings, offense, hypocrisy, negative attitudes. Of course, all of this time we are still saved, still redeemed, still loved. (He chastens those he LOVES) and we always have the opportunity to start over with a “zero balance”, asking for his complete restoration in our relationship with him and in our relationship with others.

I often think

“God sure loves me extravagantly and can't stop thinking about how awesome of a new creation I am, he wants to lavish his love, grace, mercy, redemption on me”

{In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:7-8}

Also…. there is also now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus..

I Love Romans 8!

I looked up condemnation in my Key Word Study Bible and it means “no adjudging guilty of wrong.”

I also thought of the verse in 1 John that says perfect love casts out fear because fear has to do with punishment. So we weren't really talking about fear per se last night but this verse implies that punishment has no place in perfect love (the love of Jesus Christ). Fear of punishment on the Day of Judgment, fear of punishment in daily life etc. He took my punishment for every sin I have committed or will commit. I am to be punished no more.

I also read this:

“Once the sins of the people had been paid for by the blood of an innocent sacrifice — they were completely forgiven AND forgotten by God.

The Psalmist writes in 103:12 (NASB):

"As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

That was in Psalms. Even in the Old Testament God was showing Grace to his believers! So I have a hard time believing he waits to punish me for my sin. Instead his Spirit is grieved and leads me to repent so I won't reap the consequences of my actions.

Christ died on the cross as the once and for all “payment” for ALL the sins of the world. Your sin, my sin, the world’s sin, past, present AND future! Your debt was paid by Christ’s blood.

"It is finished"

So the question to myself is:

Am I going to believe the Bible, God’s Word or my feelings?

I have to believe God’s words.

I know this.

There MUST be a perfect mix of Law and Grace because he came to fulfill the law with his grace to us.

This is just how I am working it out in my brain.

I may never figure it all out. But I have to believe every word that is in this book.

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