“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.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Angry at goodness

“Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.” (Rom. 4:15).

Why does the law work wrath in us? Paul’s no law/no transgression issue is a separate thing from what I speak of. It is true though, if I’m going along thinking I’m doing pretty good in morality, and then I see how bad I really am because new rays of truth flashed into my conscience, I’ll be unsettled and likely get upset.

I’ve been depending on my morality and all my security has been dashed to the ground. I’ve been insulted by God. I was pretty good, even if I had a few faults. Nobody’s perfect, you know! So get off my case, God. Take the log out of Your own eye, and leave me alone with the little dust speck in mine!

Law works anger in us. And it does this even if we don’t attach any divine significance to it. This is because in our fallen state and naturally not predisposed to our Father in heaven, we don’t impulsively and immediately assign love to law and rules. Our atheistic nature and immediate predisposition to law is that it, as a principle, cares less if do I obey it. Law is all a matter of information; it’s all pure mechanics. “This is what righteousness means; now obey me.” Law has no heart. It has no feelings for me. It has as much love in it as does a robot. It’s simply a moral machine. And this grinds on us subconsciously, until the silent grinding manifests itself in a violent outbreak or in an act of abandoned immorality. And people take notice and say, “Where did that come from?”

Nobody can live in a loveless environment. And the law doesn’t love. It can’t. It’s only stone; its principles are represented by stone to the core. It’s a law of love because of the principles it espouses. It demands love, it teaches love, it informs of it, but it doesn’t love. One thing in the Ten Commandments’ favor, though—it reminds us of it’s Maker who we may eventually find does love us, and that very graciously.

There exist other laws beside the Ten Commandments. We look all around us and see road signs telling us what to do and when to do it. I can’t drink and drive. I can’t speed or drive recklessly. We have taxes we better pay or I get audited, fined, and then pay my back taxes. We have bills that come to our house every month. If I’m hungry, somebody must take my hard earned money before I can satisfy my hunger. If I build a house on wet lands, the state will make me tear it down and then fine me for having damaged the natural habitat. There is information I must study and knowledge I must learn to do my work, or I will get fired.

What does every law, judgment, statute, principle have in common? They tell me what to do, regardless of how I feel about it. No sympathy to the pains obedience will cost me. No warmth. No tenderness. Cold, hard principle.

This is seen all through the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. An example of this comes from Ellen White:
Principle is always exacting. No man can succeed in the service of God unless his whole heart is in the work and he counts all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. No man who makes any reserve can be the disciple of Christ, much less can he be His colaborer. When men appreciate the great salvation, the self-sacrifice seen in Christ’s life will be seen in theirs. Wherever He leads the way, they will rejoice to follow. Desire of Ages, p. 273.

Even in the words above relating to service to God and discipleship to Christ, without intimate love and grace shed from the Holy Spirit, religious words will do nothing but stir up anger and rebellion.

When something is lacking, the lack may be initially invisible. But over time, the empty spot begins to create a sore until we become aware of the lack. Then comes the investigation of how to get the replacement.

When all we have is law without the grace of it’s Originator, the lack of sympathy and tenderness of the law wears on the soul. The deficit of love grows worse and worse, and the mind often doesn’t even realize what’s happening to it. The heart suffers and doesn’t know why. This is especially the case when a person has access to something sensual to take the place of the pain in the heart. Games, toys, rich food, entertainment, stuff, hobbies and curiosities, are subconsciously introduced to distract the soul from the lack of love created by the written law or the law as it is embedded in the requirements of life.

Paul says, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid….The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Rom. 7: 7, 10-12).

The problem in all this is not with the laws or principles or information to learn and follow. They are all “ordained to life,” morally or intellectually; and higher than any other law, the moral law of the Ten Commandments is holy and just and only good. The problem is that the whole human race is cut off from life from God. We are all born naturally atheistic and reprobate because the grace-filled life of God does not flow through us moment by moment.

We are born loveless. Our mothers and fathers may or may not fill us with their human grace and love. But, even if they do love us, human love is not enough. We grow to a maturity stage when we need to trust in more than they have to offer, a love higher and more powerful than they can love us, a grace that will stoop lower, even to our sin. We need a power instilled that has no natural, earth-bound source.

The only power that can create or perpetuate true peace is the grace of Christ. When this is implanted in the heart, it will cast out the evil passions that cause strife and dissension. “Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;” and life’s desert “shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” Isaiah 55:13; 35:1. Desire of Ages, p. 302.

This love is the evidence of their discipleship. “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples,” said Jesus, “if ye have love one to another.” When men are bound together, not by force or self-interest, but by love, they show the working of an influence that is above every human influence. Where this oneness exists, it is evidence that the image of God is being restored in humanity, that a new principle of life has been implanted. It shows that there is power in the divine nature to withstand the supernatural agencies of evil, and that the grace of God subdues the selfishness inherent in the natural heart. Desire of Ages, p. 678.

Over the baby Jesus it was prophesied, “Behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.” (Lk. 2:34).

In Him dwelled all the fullness of His Father’s love, and through Him to everyone with whom He came in contact. Mary needed to be especially spiritual, not simply in order to be the perfect mother, but to be able to see and be humbled by the unselfish behavior and the pure, innocent words that flowed from her Child every day, month after month, year after year because He was being loved by His Father. Jesus was made by God and His love, for the fall and rising again of a world foreign to God’s infinite love, Mary included.

His connection continuously unbroken, the life of God vivified His whole being from conception to childhood and adolescence, and to adulthood and ministry. “O how love I thy law!” was the joyful thought that thrilled His every day of life. Ps. 119:97. Perfect union and communion with all heaven was Jesus’. And perfect acceptance of the law was the result.

We can have the same. And we must. But until we receive Him and the life that comes with His grace toward us, we will hate the law because, consciously or subconsciously, in our banishment from the God of love, we find it all loveless words and the actual “strength of sin.” (1Cor. 15:56).

In America we have an old patriotic oath, “Give me liberty or give me death!” Spiritually speaking, that could translate to: “Give me love or give me death!” And to anyone not surrendered to grace, it naturally devolves to, “God, be loveless, and I will be lawless!” “If You have no tenderness to show me, then I refuse to follow Your laws; I will gladly burn in hell.”

Let us shake our fist at God, if we must, because of His Law—until we crumble at His feet in brokenness and contrition. He isn’t afraid of our fists; He welcomes them. He’d rather us to be cold and spiteful to a Father who we think has spurned us, than continue from birth as the “moral” sinner who doesn’t have time to believe in God enough to fight with Him for His love.

He has no fear for our attitudes toward Him. He has already demonstrated that since the very beginning; He has never stopped loving us. He knows one day some will wake up, when they wrestle with Him long enough. “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jer. 31:3).

Only by feeding off of His love and grace, can we accept the principles of His laws. Without the constant life from His warm friendliness and brotherly kindness, we have nothing with which to face reality or the law. Love, a Father’s indomitable love alone will provide us with perfect peace with law and keep us reconciled to obedience.

“God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8).

“Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Ps. 119:165).


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