Friday, July 11, 2014

Rejoicing for People We Don't Like

I am studying the book of Jonah again, but this time God has me focused on a different principle. Rejoicing for my enemies. Jonah 4 is about God rebuking Jonah for not wanting Nineveh to be saved. If you’ve got a little time right now, grab your Bible (physical, electronic, memorized). Read Jonah 4.

It’s easy to empathize with Jonah because we don’t want our enemies to enjoy the goodness of God either. I am not judging you, but I am telling the truth about myself. The blessings of the Lord, His compassion, His mercy and His grace are all mine. The people who reject God, reject me, reject my beliefs, and reject the statutes of God are my enemies. Why should those people benefit from the benevolent character of MY God?

Well, friends, it just isn’t about what we think. Every human being on this planet is a child of the Most High God, whether they choose to acknowledge Him or not. God is sovereign over all of His creation, He makes the sun to shine on the good and the evil, and He sends the rain on the just and unjust (Matthew 5:45). Every time God spares the life of one of His enemies, He has given them another chance to get right with Him. We should rejoice in the opportunity He has provided for them.

He does not want anyone to perish, so why do we? Before you get all self-righteous on me, think about the people groups you believe are going straight to hell. Now, thank God that He spared you because you should be going straight to hell, too.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Freedom to Obey

Romans 8:2 (NASB) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

For those of us who are in Christ Jesus, we no longer have to abide by (or try to abide by) the letter of the Old Testament law. This does not mean that we are free to sin, but that we are free from being condemned to death because of our sin. We can now go boldly before God’s throne, covered in the blood of Jesus Christ, and ask for forgiveness.

We also are not exempt from the consequences of our sins. Forgiven or not, if we murder someone, we have to go to prison. The principles of sowing and reaping carry from the Old Testament into the New Covenant. If you sow foolishness, that’s what you’ve got coming. Salvation is not some magic license to do whatever you want. For those who love God, obedience is a natural byproduct of that love.

I am so grateful for the freedom that Christ has purchased for me with His perfect sacrifice. I want to please Him with my every breath. Of course, I make mistakes (and some of those are more intentional than others), and I need the Holy Spirit’s help every moment. The beauty of salvation is that we are continually growing, developing, and becoming more like Jesus Christ every day, if we choose to.