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Archive for November, 2010

I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 18:14

[[[ Continuing the series on Judgment in the New Testament ]]]

Once again, the New Testament teaches that God will judge those who exalt themselves and rip apart the lowly.
This verse is the conclusion of the story of the Pharisee and the Publican. The Pharisee had been praying announcing, “I thank You God that I am not like other people. I pray. I fast. I tithe.” Meanwhile, the publican,with downcast eyes was saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”

This teaching was addressed directly to the people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt.

The nastiest, meanest people that I have ever met are those who are full of pride at the expense of others. The Pharisee in this story was twisting the truth by not respecting others, especially when he disregarded the modest and unassuming.

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…now, will not God execute the justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily.
Luke 18:7. 8a

[[[ Continuing the series on Judgment in the New Testament ]]]

Executing the justice encompasses two things:

1. God will vindicate: to support or maintain as true or correct

2. God will avenge: to exact satisfaction for by punishing the injuring party

God will not only support truth, He will also punish those who injure the truth. He will do this for His elect who are persistent. The context is persevering prayer, and when the prayer is answered, things happen quickly.

Only a fool would lie about someone who is willing to pray persistently for God to execute justice. When God vindicates the innocent, everyone will know they were innocent and they will know the accuser is a liar. When God avenges the lie, the accuser will be punished until the one they injured is satisfied. A person who is persistent in prayer has a steady heart; in the end he will look with satisfaction on his adversaries.

The righteous will be glad when they are avenged,
when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.
Then men will say,
“Surely the righteous still are rewarded;
surely there is a God who judges the earth.”
Psalm 58:10, 11

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“You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”
Luke 16:15

[[[ Continuing the series on Judgment in the New Testament ]]]

The first portion of this scripture has been adequately taught in nearly every church that I have attended. Most people “get” that men often deceive other men, but God looks on the heart and cannot be fooled. Many people who are filled with deceitfulness, hypocrisy, covetousness, and cruelty have been praised and rewarded for their appearance of being a fine upstanding citizen.

The part that they don’t often tell you in Sunday school is “that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”

Others have run opinion polls on what the worst behaviors are. Typically the answers run along the lines of murder, rape, child abuse, alcoholism, prostitution, and an assortment of terror inducing actions lumped under the label gang activity.

Of these, the only one that makes God’s list of worst of the worst is murder. Even with murder, it is not the killing so much as it is the injustice of destroying a blameless human spirit.

A search of the scriptures for a list of things that are most abominable to God will include blaspheming the Holy Spirit, failure to acknowledge God, hypocrisy, contemptuous pride (haughty eyes in KJV), a lying tongue, destruction of innocence, a heart that plots evil, feet that run rapidly to evil, giving false testimony, and causing strife in the middle of family.

(Okay, that isn’t perfectly parallel construction, but you get the points. Changing it could alter the shade of meaning in some cases.)

These are the things God’s judgment will fall on with the greatest vengeance.

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“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Luke 13:3

“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Luke 13:5

[[[ Continuing the series on Judgment in the New Testament ]]]

Repent, or be damned.

Jesus says it twice. That is emphasis.

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“I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!
Luke 12:49

[[[ Continuing the series on Judgment in the New Testament ]]]

The meaning of fire has been hotly contested. Various commentators interpret it as:

spiritual warmth
the Holy spirit
discord and contention
the fire of the gospel
judgment
baptism of the Holy Spirit
the fire of Christian love
the fire of heavenly love
trials and persecution
the spiritual element of life

Or scripture can interpret scripture:
“Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?
Jeremiah 23:29

Ultimately, the meaning of ‘fire’ will line up with the qualities of fire. Some are beneficial: warmth, light, and refinement. Many are destructive. McGarvey and Pendelton say that the fire “would purify the better part and destroy the worse.”

The Greek word translated ‘cast’ can also mean to hurl. It is sort of hard to envision Jesus passionately desiring to hurl spiritual warmth. One does not generally hurl love either. It seems out of character to say the Jesus desires to hurl discord, contention, and persecution. The best fit is a purifying fire that would destroy evil.

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“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. “Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.
Luke 12:1-3

[[[ Continuing the series on Judgment in the New Testament ]]]

This is very similar to the last post, but this time it is speaking specifically of hypocrisy being exposed.

The world rapes innocence, it mocks principles, and it impedes and marginalizes integrity. Each of these is the action of a hypocrite.

Fortunately for the innocent, the principled, and those with integrity, the rapacious, the mockers, and those who pervert justice will all be exposed. When wickedness is exposed, the innocent are vindicated.

It is amazing how many people don’t want to let the innocent the principled, and those with integrity attain full vindication. Time after time they insist that the innocent “brought the rape on themselves.” It is amazing how many people won’t allow sin to be exposed; they think that “is not nice.”

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“For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.
Luke 8:17

[[[ Continuing the series on Judgment in the New Testament ]]]

If this verse stopped after, “nothing is hidden that will not become evident,” one could say that Jesus was talking about the meaning of the parables that he was telling. But it goes on to say, “nor anything secret that will not be known.” The light of God’s judgment is going to reveal truth.

Paul supports this in his first letter to the Corinthians, 4:5, when he says that the Lord will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts. One chapter earlier, 3:13, he wrote that each man’s work will become evident.

This is great news to people who have suffered because other people have deliberately lied about them. When their motives are exposed, there will be no question as to whether their lies were deliberate, whether they were told so that they would look good (vanity), or whether they were meant to terrorize and hurt.

This relates to a trap in which ignorant church people get snared. They respond in the moment instead of in light of eternity. They end up making excuses for the liars and being cruel to the innocent. Here is how it goes down:

The liar tells a lie. It gets recorded “as if” it were true. Many others act as if it were a true allegation and become personally invested in the lie. The innocent person is treated like a criminal. The real criminal is the liar.

But all the losses suffered by the innocent will now stand charged against the account of the liar on Judgment Day.

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