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Monday, March 25, 2013

Always Changed When I Meet with God

Jeremiah 7:8-11 (ESV) 8 “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.

Many in the Church are blurring the distinction between those who know the Lord and those who simply want to say they know the Lord. Many want to get people to become a part of the Church without changing their lifestyles. Thus, the Church continues to change the standard of righteousness for those who enter.

This only works if God is a figment of our imaginations. We can do whatever we please if He is our own invention which we can change whenever we like. However, we are in deep trouble if God is the God of the Bible. He is All Powerful, Holy, All Knowing and Always Present. Righteousness is not ours to change.

Some believe that the Bible's interpretation is the problem. They re-interpret passages to fit within the practices of people. They emphasize a loving God so strongly that He has no standard of righteousness. They interpret the Bible in the light of this emphasis on love so that any passage which clearly indicates a wrong behavior is reinterpreted to fit within the lifestyle of the people. Naturally, the reinterpreted Bible is used to justify everything which is done.

This makes some want to reinterpret God Himself. He looks the other way because He loves people so much. He is much like a grandparent who is so glad to see the grandchild that he makes excuses for the failures of the child. This grandparent's love will transcend the transgressions so well that no change in lifestyle is needed.

You can do none of these things if you know Him as He really is. He is the God of the Bible. The Bible was given to us through the Holy Spirit. It is interpreted by the Holy Spirit. Thus, God gave the Word and reads it to us to tell us who He is, what He will do and His standards of walking in His light. Those who live outside of God's standard of righteousness are indeed loved but that does not change His standard of righteousness. They simply cannot come into church, sing songs of deliverance and believe that they have worshiped the Holy God.

Any real encounter with God requires an adjustment on our part. We will hear, see and know what we must do. We will be convicted or instructed or encouraged or rebuked by this encounter. We simply can't always do what we have been doing if we are walking with a God who truly loves us. He wouldn't leave us in the condition we are in. We are being changed into the likeness of His Son.

Thus, a measure of having an encounter with God is being changed. That's really always good news.


Anonymous said...

Jer 7:8-11, a good text, for speaking to the overly grace community.  In recent years, some of these overly grace leaders or preachers, after running out of injecting grace message into every text in the NT,( not that the thread of grace is not found in the whole of the NT, a point that any reasonably taught believers would have known), have taken on the preaching of OT, (which they previously, generally held out as laws, and pushed it off, with a 10 feet pole), and again, with injecting grace message, into every text.  Again, I must say, even without these overly grace preachers over-scoring grace everywhere, we, reasonably taught believers, know there was grace, too, threading through the OT, starting with Creation, to after The Fall, to the Exodus, to the early period in the Promised Land, and even, after fast forward, to the first coming of Jesus to a community of legalistic and self-righteous Jews.  But the messages, from the OT to NT to the end of time, are more than just grace.  Just to name a few, there was and is the whole array of areas of growth and over-coming in the development of a child of God - from agreeing with God, to trusting Him, to obeying Him, to serving Him, to humility (and not self-pride), to be of contrite heart, to loving God (and loving people, and not legalism) to understanding God (such of Him, as to His holiness, wisdom, sovereignty, omnipotency, etc) to having a fear of God, etc, etc.

Ps Prentis has used this Jeremiah text to underscore people changing the yardstick of righteousness.  It is indeed right that the righteousness that we (and it is including us, believers), are all to be seeking after, first, is His righteousness, NOT, mine or yours, or the Senior Pastor's or that of the most charismatic and magnetic preacher! And it is NOT as some overly grace believers said it, that Matt 6:33 is NOT talking to believers, simply because their preacher-teacher told them that they are already righteous (cannot be seeking!)

The Matthew Henry Commentary has a good exposition on this Jeremiah 7.  In addition to what Ps Prentis has underscored, I want to say it is also a warning to the overly grace believers community.  Now, to understand the "deceptive words" in v7, we need to know it was mentioned in v4, and it was referring to notion that, so long as they (Israelites then) had the temple of God, they would be going to be a-ok, regardless! V4 reads, "Do not trust in deceptive words and say, "This is the temple of the LORD, temple of the LORD, temple of the LORD".  Today, the overly grace brothers and sisters are trusting in deceptive words, and saying, "Grace, nothing but grace, and grace".  May this text below, directly quoted from the Matthew Henry Commentary speaks to the overly grace brothers and sisters, and be a reminder to us all, that precisely because grace is unmerited but a gift of God, He is at complete liberty to extend, not to extend or stop extending it; just like God having put His name in the temple, He could just remove it, and let it be destroyed!


Anonymous said...

Cont. From above

Extract from Matthew Henry Commentary:
"Note, Those who continue in sin because grace has abounded, or that grace may abound, do in effect their idols. Note, Those who continue in sin because grace has abounded, or that grace may abound, do in effect make Christ the minister of sin. Some take it thus: "You present yourselves before God with your sacrifices and sin-offerings, and then say, We are delivered, we are discharged from our guilt, now it shall do us no hurt; when all this is but to blind the world, and stop the mouth of conscience, that you may, the more easily to yourselves and the more plausibly before others, do all these abominations.’’ [2.] His temple was a holy place; but this plea made it a protection to the most unholy persons: "Has this house, which is called by my name and is a standing sign of God’s kingdom of sin and Satan—has this become a den of robbers in your eyes? Do you think it was built to be not only a rendezvous of, but a refuge and shelter to, the vilest of malefactors?’’ No; though the horns of the altar were a sanctuary to him that slew a man unawares, yet they were not so to a wilful murderer, nor to one that did aught presumptuously, Ex. 21:14 ; 1 Ki. 2:29 . Those that think to excuse themselves in unchristian practices with the Christian name, and sin the more boldly and securely because there is a sin-offering provided, do, in effect, make God’s house of prayer a den of thieves, as the priests in Christ’s time, Mt. 21:13 . But could they thus impose upon God? No: Behold, I have seen it, saith the Lord, have seen the real iniquity through the counterfeit and dissembled piety. Note, Though men may deceive one another with the appearances of devotion, yet they cannot deceive God.(2.) He shows them the insufficiency of this plea adjudged long since in the case of Shiloh. [1.] It is certain that Shiloh was ruined, though it had God’s sanctuary in it, when by its wickedness it profaned that sanctuary (v. 12): Go you now to my place which was in Shiloh. It is probable that the ruins of that once flourishing city were yet remaining; they might, at least, read the history of it, which ought to affect them as if they saw the place. There God set his name at the first, there the tabernacle was set up when Israel first took possession of Canaan (Jn. 18:1 ), and thither the tribes went up; but those that attended the service of the tabernacle there corrupted both themselves and others, and from them arose the wickedness of his people Israel; that fountain was poisoned, and sent forth malignant streams; and what came of it? No; God forsook it (Ps. 78:60 ), sent his ark into captivity, cut off the house of Eli that presided there; and it is very probable that the city was quite destroyed, for we never read any more of it but as a monument of divine vengeance upon holy places when they harbour wicked people. Note, God’s judgments upon others, who have really revolted from God while they have kept up a profession of nearness to him, should be a warning to us not to trust in lying words. It is good to consult precedents, and make use of them

God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, will be.  God's nature of holiness does not change, and so, His ethos of righteousness does not change; and the ethos of grace of God has not changed, even with the giving of His Son, Jesus. Christ.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Anonymous said...

I believe I am prompted to add, NT Scripture said, we are each now the temple of the Lord. Remember, now what v7 and v4 was referring to , "Do not trust in deceptive words and say, "This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD".

Anthony Chia, high.expressions