Consequences; June 4, 2020

Psalms 41:1 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;
the Lord delivers him in times of trouble.

When I started reading this Psalm I thought that David was patting himself on the back here, but then as I kept reading, I thought there was a real possibility he was speaking blessing on someone who had been kind to him in his own illness. Either or both seems quite possible. The thing is, David realized that actions have consequences. Most of the time it’s not a one-to-one relationship, both because God is far more gracious to us than we deserve and because we live in a fallen world. (John 16:33) However, we still have something of a spiritual corollary to one of Newton’s laws of physics: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” We have a deep need to learn this to the core of our being, which is why parenting is so important. Children need to know that when they act badly, punishment comes, and when they act well, they are rewarded. The lack of that is a major cause of the rioting and looting we are seeing right now in the US, and of all sorts of evil across the world. This can be an awkward subject for a Christian, because we are so aware that “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) We can never be “good enough” to rate eternal life with God. However it is also true that “Each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) We are accountable, and actions and attitudes have consequences. Doing the right thing might not be the easiest course at the moment, but it always pays off in the end. To be honest, that payoff may not come in this life, but it is certain. We are disturbed by obviously evil people who seem to be riding high, but their lives aren’t nearly as good as they make them out to be, and they too will have to answer to God. The only person who has always done everything right is Jesus, and that is why salvation comes through Him alone. When we accept that He died for us, taking the penalty for our sins, we then receive the blessings that are due to Him for His perfect purity. However, we must never take that lightly, but repent immediately when the Holy Spirit shows us that we have sinned yet again, so that we may abide in Christ. If we will do that our lives will reflect Him, and there will be no end to the blessings.

This naturally applies to me as much as it does to anyone. I was raised with an awareness of this truth, but I certainly haven’t always lived like I knew it. God has been incredibly gracious to me, protecting me in ways I certainly didn’t deserve. I have been protected from physical disaster and spiritual disaster both, and I am deeply grateful. As I seek to serve Him in this life I am surrounded by people who don’t yet have that sort of relationship with Him, and it troubles me a lot. I can’t force anyone to receive and act on God’s truth, but I am certainly required to speak that truth to them in love, giving them the opportunity to receive it. God’s words to Ezekiel, repeated in Ezekiel 3 and 33, certainly apply to me: “When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.” (Ezekiel 3:18-19) When I know such a marvelous Gospel, I have no excuse not to share it with others.

Father, thank You for this strong reminder. I have been getting indications that You want me to speak on Tithing this Sunday, but that’s a sensitive subject in any church, and I know of those who will hear the message who don’t have control over their own finances. Holding back is fearing man, rather than fearing You! Help me speak boldly, with full authority but with complete love, so that Your Spirit may take my words and demolish the lies of the enemy, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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