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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Counterfeit Justification

Imagine you have a trunk full of money. You have been cashing your paychecks at your brother-in-law's business for many years. He has graciously cashed them and given you a little extra as a family benefit. You have saved every penny.  No bill in your trunk is smaller than a ten. There are hundreds of stacks neatly wrapped by the denomination. It must be a million dollars!  So, you decide that you don't have to worry about life anymore. So, you tell your boss where to go and abruptly quit. You wag your trunk down to the bank and make a huge deposit. Then, you go to your mortgage company and write a check for the balance. You think, "Life is going to be sweet from now on."

Then, the bank calls and tells you and tells you that all your money is counterfeit and the Treasury Department is sending an agent to talk to you. Do you: (A) Pack your bags and head for Mexico (B) Wait for the Treasury Department to show up (C) Start acting crazy so you can have an insanity plea (D) Roll over on your brother-in-law so you won't have to go to prison?

And what are you going to do about your boss? I doubt if he'll take you back. And what about that "hot" check you wrote to the mortgage company. They won't be happy. I'm afraid your goose is cooked when you depend upon counterfeit money.

That's just like trying to depend upon your own righteousness when you go before God. You can believe it is real all you want but that won't make it worth a dime. You may be full of yourself but it won't amount to anything before God.  Your only hope is mercy. That is the only way you'll come away justified. Humility is the only currency God takes.

Luke 18:9-14 (ESV)
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”


2 comments:

Anthony Chia said...

Humble and contrite of heart

Very young in the faith, NOT in the manner that I heard a literal voice from God saying “It is the heart”, but there was an inner most witness of “It is the heart, it is the heart, and it is the heart”. And so, over the many years, frequently, I would be returned by that same inner most witness to the same “It is the heart”. Every now and then, I would find myself “researching on the heart”, but never seem to be able to fully “unlock” the “deep secret” of “It is the heart”. I cannot say, I have NOT received some revelation and some understanding from it all, given all of the time of researching, meditating, and living out; I have, but still it remains to me to be a life-time of pursuit of its fullness.

The life and heart of David is a good place to start, to pursue the subject, for both, in the OT and NT, God has allowed it to be recorded that David was the man after His (God’s) own heart. Now, this was despite, in the life of David, there were times of disobedience (sin), even serious ones too (for example, the triple violation of the 10 Commandments from the episode with Bathsheba; and the unauthorised census taking).

We can learn from the various characters of the Bible. There are great men of God recorded for us, of their lives, for us to see what is called for, in terms of pursuing “it is the heart”. From Moses, we see we are NOT to insinuate God is NOT holy. Our heart must be right, in that it must NOT insinuate God is NOT holy, remembering that it is from the heart, comes the issues of life, and so, our conduct and actions.

From David, we see, despite failures and failings, it is NOT we are hopeless to do anything about this, “it is the heart”. David sinned, and just from the episode with Bathsheba, and the unauthorised census taking, we can see what kind of posture is agreeable to “it is the heart”. David was humble and contrite of heart. Many overly grace believers, today think nothing of David’s posture, because of the erroneous teachings they were subjected to, leading them to think little of sins of their lives, and how they have to deal with them. To be humble and contrite of heart is NOT a posture that was only applicable in a past dispensation, and no longer pleasing to God or consistent with the New Covenant. It is all the more, that we are adopted as the sons of God that we are to be humble and contrite of heart.

It is over and on top of the humble and contrite of heart posture, which David illustrated for us, from Jesus’ life, we are to understand we have to grow to be fully identified with the heart of God. It is upscaling!, but it is NOT skip a couple of rung and get onto the upper scale. This text can give us that picture (Heb 10:26-29):

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

What some teachers and preachers did to “alleviate” the fear of believers concerning this text, is to come up with their own theologies and doctrines; examples of which included these:

These are talking to non-believers or “believers who are NOT really believers”! Or v26 said, “deliberately or intentionally”, and a believer cannot be deliberately or intentionally, for a believer is with a mind of Christ; if one is deliberate or intentional, it must be he has NOT “crossed the salvation line”. It is NOT uncommon to find such a quote, on this text – “This passage is not speaking of a believer who falls away, but rather someone who may claim to be a believer, but truly is not.”

cont...

Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

The Parable of the soils does NOT tell us that only one soil entered into salvation or that only one soil got the justification.

As to the correct way of dealing with the purported fear from the text, it is that we can take comfort in this other text (Romans 5:20): The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

The grace of God did NOT and does NOT stop with the advent of the New Covenant; the correct perspective should be, as the “it is the heart” is upscaled, the grace of God is also upscaled.

There was indeed an upscaling: For David, God said, “Here is a man who is after my own heart”; for Jesus, God said, “Here is my son, whom I am well-pleased”. One of the upscaling of the grace of God is (but is commonly neglected): the giving of the indwelling Holy Spirit which is our very “counter” to the fallen flesh, which after Satan, (the fallen flesh) wanting to promote itself, and so, is prideful and selfish.

What does God wants to see? It is that you develop to well-please Him, like Jesus did. Can you fall to sin, meanwhile? Yes. And so, what must you and I do? We come to God with humility and contrite of heart, always. Jesus was there (arrived), but we are NOT there, yet, and so, the David’s posture of heart, we must have. It is grace of God, yet God’s grace is NOT unholy, yet God’s grace is NOT unrighteous, yet God’s grace is NOT unwise, yet God’s grace is NOT irresponsible, yet God’s grace promotes NOT, laziness. The grace of God is part of the love of God, which is love unto righteousness.

It is the heart - the tax collector knew in his heart he was NOT right with God, and understood his failings, and that was humility, and when he was broken before God there was yet hope for him; the grace of God was on its way. The Pharisee thought he was there, but really he was NOT there; no one except Jesus, is ever going to be arrived (but we must forge in that direction). When there was NOT the humility, there was only pride; and when there was NOT the contrite of heart, there was only the hardness of heart, unteachable, and unuseable.

I can write more, especially, on the evidence of humility and contrite of heart, but it will make this comment too long, and so, I have refrained. It suffices to say that there should be evidence, and so, there would be necessarily the appropriate action and conduct showing up; if there isn’t, then we may have a case of false humility and pretence (instead of repentance) ; so watch it, how you just bask in grace!

Ps Prentis, I like your illustration of what we colloquially say, “Ini tak pakai” – This is NOT useable. Yah, pride is NOT the currency; it will only incur the wrath of God.

On the other hand, humility is recognised by God, He often let His grace to go where humility is. Oh, contrite of heart, is “God, you are so right, I am so wrong; I must now, obey and follow everything you say. I will trust everything you say; acknowledging you in all my ways.”

Anthony Chia, high.expressions