March 13, 2010

To Live is Christ — in obedient gratitude

Years ago a friend and a new Christian was considering the claims of the young men who kept coming to her door. She had some relatives who belonged to their religious group and was interested because they were “nice” people. On the other hand, a few people in the church she attended were not so nice. She wanted to know what to do.

The Bible is very black and white, and I’m not referring to the type on the paper. God says that people either belong to Him or do not. He says that anyone who disobeys even the least tenet in His Law is guilty of breaking all of it. Notice this statement: 

When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful. (Proverbs 29:18, New Living Bible)
From our perspective, this seems a generality that cannot possibly apply to everyone, but the Bible was not written from a human perspective. In the eyes of God, those who do not listen to Him are doing their own thing. If their life is not “wild” in our minds, it is in His. Doing our own thing might look “nice” to us, but to God it is running wild.

Obedience, according to this verse, produces joy. I know, as do others, that this is not always the case. However, a little research shows that the actual wording says that those who obey God’s Law are “blessed.” This word has more than one meaning. It can mean an enjoyable and subjective feeling of being blessed, but it can also mean “well-spoken of” referring to the way God responds to their obedience. That is, a person who does what God says is blessed by God’s favorable response to them.

Back to the friend with the dilemma. When we talked about it, she said that the people in the cult were nice and too many Christians were not nearly so pleasant. I reminded her of God’s perspective. I said that He sees the heart. When He looks at the nice people who belong to that cult, He sees that they have rejected His Son, Jesus Christ. Their personality is not as important to Him as what they do with Jesus. In His mind, they have run wild.

On the other hand, while Christians should be filled with the fruit of the Spirit and acting the way God wants us to act, sometimes we do not. However, God still looks at the heart. For those who belong to Jesus, He sees that Jesus is living in our hearts and that our sins are covered by His blood. In other words, when He looks at us in our nastiest moments, He rebukes, chastens, and corrects our sin, but He sees Jesus.

My friend understood. She went on in her Christian faith and learned that believers need to consider what God sees, not what we see. His perspective cuts a dividing line. His love and Christ’s sacrifice put His people on His side of the line where grace covers our sin and blesses our obedience.

This marvelous truth is most humbling and makes me fall on my knees in gratitude and worship. It is not intended as a license for me or any other believer to run wild. Instead, that term describes those who have no divine guidance or who if they have any revelation from God, they are not listening what He has said.

1 comment:

Karin said...

Really enjoyed the way you explained this!