Friday, July 26, 2013

The Necessity of Judgment

The Necessity of Judgment

·        Sin defined

To understand why judgment is necessary we first need a clear definition of the essence of sin. Sin is not merely unrighteous actions, though actions say something very important about us. They are unrighteous because of why they are done (i.e. motive) and not just what is being done. We get a clear definition of sin in the following passage.

Rom_3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

This suggests and implies the essence of sin is coming short of the glory of God.

The *glory of God (see definition of the original below) is the display of His beauty, greatness, majesty, worth. Any attitude or resulting action that displays His beauty, greatness, majesty and worth is one that is glorifying/honoring to God.

Rom_3:23  for all have sinnedG264 and fallG5302 shortG5302 of the gloryG1391 of God,

Sinned: G264  μαρτάνω  = hamartanō; from an early root μαρτ- hamart-; to miss the mark, do wrong, sin: - commit sin (1), committed...offense (1), committing (1), sin (11), sinned (17), sinning (4), sins (8).

“Sinned” appears to be what is sometimes referred to as the sin of commission. We shoot (an act) for the wrong thing and therefore miss the right thing i.e. what we are shooting at is the wrong target. We are pursuing the wrong thing.

Fall short: G5302  στερέω  = hustereō; from G5306; to come late, be behind, come short: - am...lacking (1), come short (1), comes short (1), destitute (1), fall short (1), impoverished (1), inferior (2), lack (2), lacked (1), lacking (1), need (1), ran (1), suffering need (1), worse (1).

This appears to be what is sometimes referred to as a sin of omission. We do not have within us what it takes to get it done i.e. we come up short.

So we have two related but separate problems. As the passage says, we …have sinned and fall short…”  Not only are all our actions shooting for the wrong target but they come up short of the true target of bringing God glory i.e. recognizing or acknowledging His true worth/greatness/honor.

In summary, missing the glory of God is simply our not recognizing God’s great worth/value in our disposition first that is displayed by our actions. This occurs two ways.

1.    We shoot for the wrong target. Instead of seeking to glorify God, we worship/value the creature over the Creator Rom 1:21-23

2.   We come up short or are impotent in fully acknowledging (hitting) the right target or that end for which we were created; the recognition and enjoyment of the full majesty and greatness of God.

So the heart or essence of sin is not acknowledging God in all His majesty resulting in our not trusting God in proportion to His trustworthiness.

The outward manifestation and display of what we normally call sin or sinful behavior is only the fruit of the inward state of our not recognizing or coming up short of recognizing the great beauty/value/worth/glory of God. Sinful behavior is the outward display of our not trusting God in proportion to His true greatness and worthiness of our total trust.

Glory: G1391  δόξα   doxa
Thayer Definition:
1) opinion, judgment, view
2) opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone
2a) in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory
3) splendour, brightness
3a) of the moon, sun, stars
3b) magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace
3c) majesty
3c1) a thing belonging to God
3c1) the kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler, majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity
3c2) a thing belonging to Christ
3c2a) the kingly majesty of the Messiah
3c2b) the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of Christ; the majesty
3c3) of the angels
3c3a) as apparent in their exterior brightness
4) a most glorious condition, most exalted state
4a) of that condition with God the Father in heaven to which Christ was raised after he had achieved his work on earth
4b) the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Saviour’s return from heaven

·        The Necessity Of Judgment

Gods judgment vindicates and displays his great worth.

With a clearer understanding of sin, the reason judgment is necessary is it vindicates and displays the great worth of God.

Condemning sin (our not recognizing God’s great worth and it's subsequent fruit) displays the greatness of God’s worth i.e. if sin is the belittling of God, what better way to show the greatness of God then to clearly condemn the disregard for His greatness. The greater the condemnation for ignoring His greatness the greater the indication of that greatness.

Not judging sin would be equal to saying God is not great. His value is not that significant i.e. it is not a big deal if you do not recognize the greatness of God.

God's life can only come to us when everything antagonistic to true life is removed.  This is true legally but also true practically. To ignore the greatness of God is antagonistic to true life. It is against God first because God is life. It is against us because we subsist by and through Him. Therefore it is wrong and must be condemned, hence the necessity of judgment.

Legally, we come short of giving God His due recognition. Christ on the other hand honored His Father completely and trusted Him fully. He gave the Father his total honor by trusting Him and remaining true to Him to the ultimate degree of His death. (In contrast, outside of Christ and His Spirit within us, everything we do is designed to maintain our life independent of God). Not only so but the Father then assigned Christ’s perfect record of fully honoring Him to our account. We now have the full benefit of the righteousness of Christ credited to us. While at the same time, the full judgment of our belittling God was poured out on Christ. 

God is not only just but the justifier. He is not only great and awful (i.e. full of awe or awesome) but He is love.  And His love was so great, He gave the greatest object of His love, His Son, to bear the just punishment of our dishonoring the Father and rescued us from His just condemnation.

In summary, condemning (passing sentence against) our coming short up of recognizing God’s worth actually displays the greatness of God’s worth i.e. what better way to show the greatness of God then to clearly and soundly condemn the ignoring of His greatness.  The greater the condemnation the greater the indication of this greatness.

For a fuller discussion of the basis for morality click here. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Where does desire come from?

Where does desire come from?
(Are our desires good or bad?)

Why do we desire at all? It is because we are lacking. We want because we do not have. What is it that we want/desire? We desire significance, meaning, importance, love, pleasure etc. What gives us pleasure? Anything that makes us feel important, significant, desired, loved i.e. good about ourselves. This is what we all long for.

Why do we have the need to feel important significant, valuable? Because God designed us this way. In a word, he designed us for love; to be loved.

Why did He design us that way? To be in relationship with Him. In order for us to be in relationship with Him we had to be like Him. And what is He like? He is important significant and valuable. In order for us to appreciate His importance’s significance and value we had to be designed to appreciate it. 

Since God is this way and designed us for a relationship with Him we must be able to appreciate and enjoy His importance significance and value. In order for us to appreciate this, we must derive a sense of importance significance and value from enjoying this in Him. 

The very definition of relationship is two beings giving and receiving something from each other; interacting with each other. In order to give God glory i.e. recognize His importance significance and value and to receive and enjoy Him, we had to have the capacity to enjoy His glory. In order to do so He designed us in such as way that we could be in a relationship with Him, hence our need for importance significance and value. 

To restate it simply, we cannot enjoy and appreciate Gods great worth if we do not have the ability to appreciate it and feel the desire for or want it. The greater our capacity to appreciate and value (glorify) Him the greater our ability to appreciate and value Him.

Desiring to be safe and secure, loved, valued, happy etc are all good desires. All desires put in us by God and part of us being created in His image so we can have a relationship with Him. The issue is not our desires but who do we look to, to fulfill them.

Our desires are:

·        A part of our being in God’s image

But also the result of…

·        Being separated from God

So there is a good element to our desires. Being in God’s image so we can enjoy, worship and glorify God. But there is a bad element as well. We are separated from God and therefore now lacking what we were designed to experience in Him…love, joy, peace, pleasure, value, importance, meaning and so on. Because we are separated from the source of our true fulfillment due to distrust and rejection of our Father/Creator, we go about seeking to fill that lack with anything and everything but that which can truly and only fill it, God Himself.

Because we have spent all our lives attempting to satisfy our desires with anything but that which can truly satisfy them, our desires are stymied, suppressed. As C.S. Lewis stated,

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

By weak desires, I mean we have the capacity for much greater desires but there is nothing in this life to satisfy our truest, strongest and deepest desires, so we just keep them in check with temporary things. We anesthetize our longings. To allow our true longings to fully surface would be too painful.

This is only because we refuse trusting God to give us what we need and long for.

However as we grow to trust God and let go of those things we use to anesthetize our longings, our capacity to receive His love increases. As that capacity increases our longings also increase. We feel more because our capacity to feel more has grown. We are being restored to our original state of finding and enjoying God as our only and true satisfier of our hearts. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

When are God's resources ours?

We exist in a blessed state. We are a child of the King. We have untold, unlimited riches at our disposal. Why? Our Father is the richest person in the universe. He owns and runs all of it.  In fact He isn't just the CEO of the universe, He made it. And not out of existing materials. Not only did He make it He keeps it all going, from the farthest star in the infinite reaches of the universe to the most minute particulars at the quantum level yet to be discovered.

So when does our wealthy and infinitely powerful, wise and loving Dad offer his unlimited resources to us? At all times and in all things (see 2 Cor 9:8 below). The question is when are we ready to receive them?

If those resources are our focus, He will not give us the combination to the vault or issue us a unlimited debit card. If however using His resources to Honor Him is our desire, we have cart Blanche to all He owns. What is His is ours.

He’s simply looking for wise children He can entrust His resources to that will use them in a way that draws attention to Him (not us) and brings others into His family.

When we use God’s resources to advance His glory, His resources are fully available to us.

Does this always translate into material riches? Not necessarily but it can. Generally the riches of God are spiritual in nature but can be material. And certainly one day all blessings in whatever form are already fully secured for us in Christ and will be ours one day if not now.

How do we know we are ready to receive all God offers? He who is faithful in little will be given more. Are we faithful...full of faith? To whom much is given much is required. Do we take the immense greatness and majesty of God seriously and use all He gives to point others to His greatness? If we do, all that is His is ours.

Are you in or out?

1Ti 6:17  As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

i.e. riches in this life are not truly life. God who grants all things is life.

2Co 9:6  The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7  Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9  As it is written, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10  He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11  You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

2Pe 1:3  His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

Eph 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

2 Cor 8:9  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Pro 3:1  My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments,
Pro 3:2  for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
Pro 3:3  Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
Pro 3:4  So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
Pro 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Pro 3:6  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Pro 3:7  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
Pro 3:8  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Pro 3:9  Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
Pro 3:10  then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Pro 3:11  My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof,
Pro 3:12  for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
Pro 3:13  Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,
Pro 3:14  for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.
Pro 3:15  She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Pro 3:16  Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
Pro 3:17  Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
Pro 3:18  She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.
Pro 3:19  The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens;
Pro 3:20  by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.
Pro 3:21  My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion,
Pro 3:22  and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.

For a discussion on the dangers of pursuing riches click here

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 cannot fully trust someone you do not love. True or not?

You cannot fully receive love from someone you do not trust and cannot fully trust someone you do not love.

To the second half of this quote some might object , “… can’t you trust someone you do not love?” Yes to a degree, however to fully trust another requires that you have the utmost admiration and respect for them; so much so that you truly value them and their input. To come to this level of trust you must believe they have your best interest at heart i.e. they love you. When you trust someone at that level you will also love him or her, therefore you cannot fully trust someone you do not love. Agree, disagree? Give me your feedback. God speed.