Friday, January 29

More Righteous Than God?!

That's right, we can get to the place in our lives (without saying it out loud) that we imagine we are more loving than GOD himself! What do I mean? Well, the Bible teaches election (Romans 8; Ephesians 1), a doctrine which many reject because in it God looks to them to be capricious. They fight against it because it seems to negate one's "free will," or they argue that it's "unfair to the lost," etc. But there's no question that all through the Word it is there AND in many ways that the same folks do not seem to mind so much.

Examples of Election Most Don't Mind But Should--
God chose Noah and excluded the whole earth!! Wow! Don't miss that one just because it's so familiar to us. God chose Abraham. Later, God would choose the younger Jacob over the elder Esau BEFORE they had done anything "good or bad." Some say, "Well, God did that because he knew how Esau would respond, so . . . " But that doesn't hold water. Why? Because, 1) Jacob was bad too, deceptive and conniving! Don't forget that. But more importantly, such an argument does not work because 2) God actually states that his choosing of Jacob over Esau was his own doing, and (get this) had nothing whatsoever to do with what they had done (they were still in the womb), or what they would do (anything good comes from God anyway--see Romans 9:11). Paul is very clear that God is nailing down the point that he has the right to do with his own whatever he wills (v. 15), and that he is NOT unjust in doing it (v. 14).

And Israel. What of Israel? He chose them out of all the nations of the earth, and NOT because they were worthy of his choice either. Deuteronomy 7:6-8 makes this abundantly clear. He chose David and Solomon though neither were the eldest among their peers. Check it out, the nations heard the truth through Israel, but God did not choose them. Somehow, those who attack this doctrine (and God) imagine that they have a better handle on what true justice is than God who IS the Just and Holy One!! Election occurs throughout the entire Bible not in just a few choices verses in the New Testament. Question is: when we see a doctrine like election (or future punishment, hell, etc.) that we do not like, do we reject it and by so doing impugn the wisdom and justice of God?

When we come to a doctrine of Scripture, ANY doctrine, it is always our wisdom to determine first what the Bible says about it, to determine the limits of the teaching. Then, and only then, can we ponder its implications. What has through the ages been the bane of so many is that they read the Bible with their personal "fairness" filters firmly installed and therefore, cannot SEE what's in front of them. That's terrible exegesis (interpretation of the text). Read with brain engaged, but bias in neutral.

Learn First:  1) That we don't understand God; His wisdom and knowledge are "unsearchable," and "past finding out" (Romans 11:33). Further, know that 2) His ways are so much higher than our ways--infinitely (Isaiah 55:8-9), and 3) that the more we learn the more there will be to understand (because God IS infinite). And learn 4) That God is and always will be mysterious. You will not "wrap your mind around God." You cannot contain him or restrict him, or even accuse him. When you think you've "figured him out," you haven't even begun! You've only succeeded in showing your own foolishness. Say rather with Job, "I spoke of things I did not know" (42:3), therefore "I lay my hand on my mouth" (40:4). Learn with Job to shut up in God's presence. He is loving, therefore we do not die; but he is JUST therefore, we must fear.

Learn Second to bow before the revealed Word of God, and NOT TO SIT IN JUDGMENT ON IT! Scripture truth takes precedence over systems of belief. I believe in the Reformed doctrines (what is sometimes labeled Calvinism). If you do not believe specifically this way, my thought is, you're a Christian if you trust only in the shed blood of Jesus Christ to save you and live a holy life consequently. It's more important that we honor the common blood of Christ in one another than to separate over a system of belief, even though the beliefs are vital. If I wave a banner, it is Scripture only, Jesus only, glory to God alone! It is also vital that we insure our faithful adherence to the written Word of God and honor it even if, or especially when we do not initially understand it or--can I say "agree"--with it. God's Word judges me, not the reverse.

More Righteous Than God?
So, I close how I began, "Do we imagine that we know better than God how to run his universe? We think--do we?--that if we were God, we would save everybody, that we would be "fair," and loving!! OK, so what we are saying is that we are more righteous and holy and just than God himself! God warns, "Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be right?" (Job 40:8). That is so scary, there are no words strong enough to describe it!

Walk humbly before God. He is righteous, holy, good, and just. He holds all his attributes with equal value for they are--like Himself--perfect. God help us to see him truly that we may fear him duly. Amen.


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