YEAR 2, WEEK 15, Day 5, Friday, 14 April 2023

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 14 April 2023:

Job 34:9 – For he has said, “It profits a man nothing that he should take delight in God.”

If you are serving God for profit, it is not for love. The unloving don’t follow God because they don’t see the profit in it. Love is a sacrifice of self for another inspired by the heart, not by a desire for a pay back.

Job 34:17 – Shall one who hates justice govern?

The foundation, moral authority, and the legitimacy of government is justice. God is just and the source of all justice. There is no justice apart from Him. If a nation seeks justice apart from God, lawlessness follows. The ungodly and unjust are unfit for government, though God often allows the unjust to govern for a time for His purposes, to reveal the fallacy of man’s righteousness and the truth of His holiness, righteousness, sovereignty, mercy, and grace.

Job 34:31-33 — For has anyone said to God, “I have borne punishment; I will not offend any more; teach me what I do not see; if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more?” Will he then make repayment to suit you, because you reject it?

We have nothing to bring to the negotiating table with God, and there can be no greater arrogance than to think somehow God would negotiate on our terms or bargain with the mere mortal. Can we really say to God, “I will not offend anymore”? If God revealed your sin to you in a greater way, would you really never sin again? Has any of us mastered self? And if we had finally mastered self, would that be justification to free us from accepting responsibility for our past behavior? Proverbs ask, “Who can say, ‘I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin’?” (Proverbs 20:9) Sometimes, as spoiled children, we might say to the Father, “That’s not fair!” But the last thing we want from the Father is what is fair or what we truly deserve – that would be eternal death. We must never lose sight of the fact that we operate under God’s unmeasurable mercy and grace. Often, we take this for granted, and our head knowledge of grace does not guide our hearts. Our perspective on grace affects everything.

Many people ask for forgiveness, but continue in sin (not producing the fruit of repentance) and then expect God to reward them in their disobedience. Forgiveness begins with repentance and results in an obedient heart. Most Christians are too complacent in their obedience, presuming upon God’s grace.

Job 34:37 – For he adds rebellion to his sin; he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God.

We all sin and “miss the mark,” but it is quite another matter to intentionally sin with full awareness of God’s commands and God’s G.R.A.C.E. — God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. While we may make light of rebellious sin, God doesn’t — “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:26-31)

Romans 3:1-2 – Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.

To be entrusted with God’s word is a great advantage. What are you doing with God’s word?

Romans 3:3 – What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?

God is faithful even when we are not faithful. And a lack of faith does not change the truth of God’s word or the consequences of living or not living by God’s word. Without faith it is impossible to please God because faith trust God’s faithfulness to receive what He has already given us. In unfaithfulness, we don’t use what we have been given and act as if we had never received it. Our failure to take hold of what God has given us does not change the fact that He freely gave but merely demonstrates our lack of appreciation for the giver and the gift and robs us of the joy that comes from receiving.

Romans 3:5, 6 – But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means!

Our sin only further reveals the truth of God’s word, the truth of His Righteousness, and the need for salvation through Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:5-8 – And why not do evil that good may come?

The reality of our sinfulness and the reality of God’s grace for those who rely on Jesus does not in any way lighten the seriousness of sin or provide a license for continued sin.

Romans 3:9-18 – For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

All people are subject to God’s judgement and need salvation through Jesus. Your thoughts, words, and deeds continually reveal your dependence on God’s mercy and grace and your need for continued sanctification.

Romans 3:19 – …so that every mouth may be stopped….

The reality of our sin should eliminate all pride and boasting. Most people feel that they are generally good people. The first step to receiving salvation is recognizing you need it. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” those who realize they are spiritually bankrupt before the Lord with no ability to pay their own debt. “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).”

Romans 3:22-26 — For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

God is a God of love, but He is also a God of justice. In fact, love and justice go hand-in-hand. A loving God cannot accept injustice. God in His character of love and justice cannot simply overlook or excuse any sin – that would be unjust, unloving. The penalty must be paid. God has shown His righteousness through Jesus Christ by demanding the full penalty for sin, a penalty that we could not bear. And He has shown His mercy, grace, and love through the sacrifice of His One and Only Son on our behalf — “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17) “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24-25)

Through Christ, God reveals that He is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” God Himself offers to pay the penalty for our sins “as a gift.” Said another way, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).” However, a person doesn’t own a gift until they accept it from the giver. Who do you know who hasn’t accepted the gift of grace through Jesus Christ? Do you love that person enough to patiently lead them to Christ and to freedom?

We have all fallen short, and justice demands our eternal death, but through the grace of God, Jesus paid the price for our sins that we can have freedom from God’s judgment and that we can enjoy the gift eternal life. Having received grace and forgiveness from God through Jesus, God expects us to live our lives lovingly but also justly, and He holds us accountable for our sins and disciplines us, though not unto eternal death. Of God, the Bible says – “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he (Deuteronomy 32:4); of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice (Job 24:12). Shall one who hates justice govern? Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty (Job 34:17)? But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice (Psalm 9:7); He loves righteousness and justice (Psalm 33:5). Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you (Psalm 89:14). Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:24). But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness (Isaiah 5:16). It is from the Lord that a man gets justice (Proverbs 29:26).”

The God of love hates injustice: “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight (Proverbs 11:1). For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense (Isaiah 61:8). But woe to you Pharisees! For you… neglect justice and the love of God (Luke 11:42).” God calls justice light and injustice darkness (Isaiah 59:9). God says that His disciples are to be a light in the world, modelling the attribute of God’s justice. The God of love who hates injustice demands that people not only live justly but also fight against injustice — “You shall not pervert justice (Deuteronomy 16:19). Justice, and only justice, you shall follow (Deuteronomy 16:20). You shall not pervert the justice (Deuteronomy 24:17). Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice (Deuteronomy 27:19). He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 17:15). The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy (Psalm 111:7). “So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God (Hosea 12:16). Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate (Amos 5:15).”

Can you imagine a world totally without any justice? How dark would that be? How unloving? How evil? Have the courage to stand up against injustice in the Name of Jesus and under the authority of Jesus. As a messenger and minister of reconciliation as an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5), proclaim God’s justice as well as His mercy and grace – all of God’s attributes go together in His sovereignty and holiness and are to be pursued by those who love Him. (1 Peter 1:15; 1 Timothy 6:11)

  • Matthew 12:18 — Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.

Romans 3:31 – Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Grace does not nullify the law but gives us freedom to obey Jesus without fear.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 April 2023: Proclaim God’s justice, mercy and grace today. Share the Gospel.

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