“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.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The loving God of judgment

 “I the Lord love judgment.” (Is. 61:8).

The Lord has good reason to love judgment. This is the sole medium through which He can produce children able to hear truth, in a spirit that is able to heed it and obey it.

Judgment, that condition when sin meets its rightful desserts; that frame of mind when sin is acknowledged as the great enemy of all happiness rather than happiness’s creator and defender; when the God of holiness and love is no longer the enemy, but the friend; when the soul ends its struggle against the divine punishment it sees in the consequences of sin, and surrenders to God. Wonderful judgment!

The pride is broken, the heart is broken. The soul has fallen on Christ, the great Examplar of God’s law, and broken. As the Lord had it written, “[When] I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity….” (Lev. 26:41). And, “I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: and your strength shall be spent in vain.” (Vs. 19,20).

When our uncircumcised hearts are finally broken, as Jacob’s did beside the brook Jabbok in the night that culminated his life’s struggle, then and only then can God begin our restoration. “Then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Vs. 42). There can be no victory without God’s heaven-sent vanity and vexation of spirit grinding our old man to a halt; now that we are sinners, there can be no restoration without suffering under sin; there can be no revival without knowing by experience the wrath of God’s Law against rebellion, so that we see sin in all its horrific magnitude and the cry is wrung from our heart, “Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24).

When the Lord providentially puts the big spanking on us and we realize how deeply sin is rooted in our morality (we’re not really bad people, we are just a little sinful, as we say), then all uncertainties regarding God’s hatred of our sins flee away and we stand convicted and tremble under the possible sentence of His eternal rejection.

But He also gives us the sense that His spanking was filled with mercy—a message to any soul that yearns for His love as Jacob did. His justice-mercy blend stands out in stark difference to Satan’s world of sin that is empty of love, and beats us unmercifully.

When judgment has thus prepared our stubborn hearts to humbly long for God’s love, then the Savior reveals Himself in love through His Holy spirit. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” (Jn. 6:37). “And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise Him up at the last day.” (Jn. 6:40).

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus; none else can heal all the soul’s diseases.
No friend like Him is so high and holy, and yet no friend is so meek and lowly.
There’s not an hour that He is not near us, no night so dark, but His love can cheer us.
Did ever saint find this Friend forsake him? Or sinner find that He would not take him?
Was e’er a gift like the Savior given? Will He refuse us the bliss of heaven?
No, not one! no, not one!

It takes a real wrestling match to make a sinner submit to God. It takes power and patience that only God can produce to harness the powerful determination and urges of the human creation and turn it all back on himself in order to help him see his shame, his lukewarm destitution and filth. But Christ says, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18).

He does not fear the effects of pain and sorrow that His children-to-be must pass through. “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.” (Prov. 23:13). Why should our Creator be tormented alone because of sin? He will have us suffer pain with the pain He feels because of us. If we will accept suffering together with Him, under His careful and caring supervision; if we will be crucified with Christ, then, and only then, are we rightful heirs to God’s acceptance, righteousness, and eternal reward.

Those are His conditions. Will we accept them and Him? Or turn it all down, and Him also. He requires the sacrifice of self. “Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” (Ps. 50:5). “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?...
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Heb. 12:6,7,11).

The total loss of pride is the strait gate that leads to eternal life, and it is so restricting a gate that, in the words of Jesus, “few there be that find it.” “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us.” (2Tim. 2:12). Self must be totally removed. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25). The serving of self costs us our life, “for the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23). Still, we can’t make ourselves let go of self; only God can dissolve the hold we have on its gratification and protection.

Surrender to God’s all-encompassing, eternal acceptance is His divine remedy for those who will cling to Him forever. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1). “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made Me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom 8:2). “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom 8:4).

We can never hope to peal off our own fingers from sin and self, and release our death-grip from them. Sin and self have too great an attraction for our unaided strength to resist.

Pride and love of self can only go away through the great work of God. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” (Is. 61:3). “That no flesh should glory in His presence.” (1Cor. 1:29).

“For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.
For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.…
For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” (Is. 61:7,8,11).


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