Saturday, October 10, 2015

Judgment and Grace



Judgment and grace are two prominent themes within Holy Scripture.  You will not find one without the other so that we cannot ignore one over another.  We all need to struggle with the tension between God’s Word to us, and our words to God; between God’s judgment, which opens our souls on a spiritual operating table; and, God’s grace which jumpstarts our broken hearts.  Our most fundamental need above anything else in this life is the need for God’s mercy in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:12-16).

            God intends that our outer lives and our inner lives match each other.  It is when the two are out of sync that we come under the judgment of God’s Word.  The early Hebrew Christians had slowly drifted from the truth so that their inner and outer lives did not line up well.  Some of them were still performing the outward duties of being a Christian, but were inwardly despising their hard situation.  A growing vacuum was occurring on their insides as they slowly started letting go of Jesus as their object of devotion.  Their hearts began to harden because of their troubles.  On the other hand, there were other Hebrew Christians who began drifting in a different way.  Inwardly, they tried to maintain their devotion and commitment to Christ, but began compromising their outward life to match the culture around them.  In both cases of hardening inwardly, and of compromising outwardly, they each shared the situation of drifting away from their original commitment to Christ.

            Even today, it is a very real temptation to try and avoid suffering, to grow weary of our present circumstances and look for a way to get out from under the pain and find a quick fix.  Whenever we find ourselves in such a situation, the remedy is to be reminded that we must continue to hold firmly to the faith we profess because of who Jesus is.

            Jesus is our great and ultimate high priest.  He did not enter the temporary sacrificial system of the Old Testament to deal with sins for only a year.  Jesus not only took on the role of high priest, but became the sacrifice, as well.  As a result, we now have a permanent forgiveness of sins through Christ.  So, any Christian who considers going back to an old outdated system needs to be brought back to his senses and embrace the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus. 

            Let us then approach Jesus with confidence, with boldness, knowing that with him there is mercy and grace.  Jesus did not just suffer for us; he also suffers with us right now.  Jesus is not detached from us, but is our great high priest, the One whom is intimately involved in every nook and cranny of our lives.  He knows what you are going through, and he is ready to give you grace to help you through whatever it is you are going through right now. 

            What is so wonderful about this is that coming to Jesus has nothing to do with being good enough to do so.  Coming to Jesus is all about grace.  Whenever we find that we have drifted from God and are confronted with his Word cutting us to the heart in judgment, the end result is not wrath; the result is mercy.


            Like the early Hebrew Christians, we all face situations out of our control that wear us down and cause us to become weary.  It is in such times that we can be tempted to let our commitment to Christ slide in some small way.  Over time, the small compromises of faith can snowball into a big slide away from God.  But Jesus is not sitting in heaven frustrated or confounded.  God is not looking for a reason to punish people.  It is just the opposite.  Jesus, the Son of God, our great high priest, is looking for a reason to show grace and help us in our time of need.  He is waiting for us to approach the throne of grace with confidence.  Right now, Jesus is alive.  He is scanning this world, and his church, looking to extend mercy to those who need it.  Thank you, Jesus.

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