“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thou shalt hate lust

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matt. 5:27-32).

Jesus is making good on His promise to not destroy the law or the prophets. (Matt. 5:17,18). Yet this was the very accusation of the Jews. Howbeit, this attitude toward Christ was motivated by the daily conviction of sin because of His spotless character and the purity and constancy of His love for friends and enemies. Isn’t it interesting how the deceitful human heart can convince itself that its motives are pure while its own character, in reality, is described by the supposed wickedness it sees in its enemies. All this convolution goes on subconsciously, unrecognized by the sinful rebellious mind, all in the effort to never be corrected or ashamed. How sin blinds! How deluded we are without a continual surrender to the Law and grace of Christ! “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).

So Jesus, never to modify the Law of His Father, raises it from its primitive Mosaic structure of the days following Egyptian slavery, and from the muck surrounding it from the Babylonian captivity. The nature of the law He was enunciating was very different from the one in common use of His day. Through many centuries since Babylon, slowly at first but accelerating, the theologians had given their interpretations of the Law, and then other rabbis gave their interpretations of the earlier interpretations; and this went on again and again, compounding the misinterpretations of each rabbi and transforming the Law of God into the laws of men.

As the world continued its moral decline through the influence of a long sequence of pagan empires, the rabbinical writings followed the tendency of the world to excuse sin and make the principles of the law to none effect by these extra-scriptural writings. The original scriptures, having the convicting voice of God, were set aside and the precursor scripts of the Talmud were preferred and read instead.

By the time of the incarnation of the Son of God, Israel had fallen far away from its original covenant with the God of Abraham, Moses, David, and Ezra. The laws of man had supplanted the Law of God. The petty desires of men had become the weak voice of authority, the easy standard to be reached, and the source of much emptiness and apathy. Into this confusing state Jesus came to overturn the false system of worship and morality.

Now with peals of Sinai thunder to the conscience, He sweeps back the mountains of error in one stroke. His teachings came with freshness and a power that spoke to the needs of an audience wakening to hope and life. Already He had healed them and their beloved sick. He had showed Himself to be their trusted friend, thus their will was enlisted. Now their ears were being opened to hear a new message of truth—the true character of their Father in heaven.

Jesus could speak the principles of righteousness with a simple language which gave it force. He exposed lust and then told them as Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar, “Break off thy sins by righteousness.” (Dan. 4:27). Comparing the work of overcoming sin with major surgery, our Lord bade the people to cut off their sins even if it felt like cutting off their hand or arm or extracting an eye from its socket. As Daniel determined in his heart not to eat the intoxicating food and wine of the king, so should we make stern resolutions not to sin and to steer clear of temptation. For it is better to go through the pain of mortifying the flesh than “that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” Christ’s words were not mean or grotesque words, but He chose them for an emphasis equalling the importance of the work of perfection.

Christ has given us no assurance that to attain perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-round character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticize ourselves closely, and allow not one unfavorable trait to remain uncorrected. Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 331.

Jesus could talk this vigorous language because He thought this way about His own efforts to grow in grace. “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness.” (Ps. 45:7). “God sending His own Son … for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” (Rom. 8:3). “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2).

God, our Father in heaven, is unapproachable because of our sinful state. But He has not left us orphans; He will bring home His banished. He has given us The Son, the Creator of everything and our personal Redeemer, heaven’s Commander and yet the Elder Brother of our race. Christ is approachable. He promises to never leave us nor abandon us. He oversees our every advance upward to His kingdom and each retrograde back to the dark world below. If we ever sorrow for sin and turn away from it, it is because of the mediatorial work of Jesus our High Priest and our righteousness.

Let us tremble at the Law and the high principles of righteousness, but not fail to trust in Him and to cling to His hand; for He has covenanted with us and will perform all His oaths. He promises, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” (Is. 66:2;41:13,14).

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17).


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