Thursday, April 29, 2010

Violent Entrance


(Taken from The Gospel of Luke by G. Campbell Morgan)

"That which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God." Luke 16:15

What did He mean by "that which is exalted among men"? In psalm forty-nine we have light on this. It deals with the subject of life conditioned by the passion for wealth. It is well worth careful study. In the course of it the psalmist says of the rich man:

"Though while he lived he blessed his soul (And men praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself), He shall go to the generation of his fathers."

Carefully observe that parenthetical line.

"Men praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.”

That is as true today as ever. We still praise men whom we call successful because they have done good to themselves in heaping up riches. Men will always praise their fellowmen for astute cleverness in amassing money.

Then, in a statement startling for its vivid scorn, He revealed God's attitude to this kind of thing as He said:

"That which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God"

Quite literally, it is a stench in the nostrils of God.

Then He made a remarkable comment on the whole position.

"The law and the prophets were until John "-

That is, until the time of John's ministry,-

"from that time the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is preached."

The phrase, the Kingdom of God, connotes the Kingship of God, the authority of God, the sovereignty of God. Notice, that our Lord describes that as "good news." We are all liable to read that as though it referred to the Gospel of the grace of God. And so it does ultimately, but fundamentally it is the Gospel of the government of God.

Now, said Jesus, the law was from Moses until John. What then? Then the good news of the Kingship of God. Does the good news set the law aside? He was careful to deny that thought;

"It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away,,,than for one tittle of the law to fall.”

The good news of the Kingship of God does not set aside the law, but it reveals its stern demands. That explains His next words;

"Every man entereth violently into it."

What did He mean by every man entering violently into the Kingdom of God? We shall find the explanation if we look again at the Pharisees. They were living by the standards of human opinion. Men were praising them because they were doing well to themselves. They were taking care of themselves, laying up treasure on the earth. Such men, in order to enter the Kingdom of God, would have to be violent, trampling under foot their prejudices. They were laughing at His idealism ; they were deriding His contempt for gold upon the earthly level; they were mocking His view that the real value of money is to make friends who will receive us into the eternal habitations. To such He said in effect; You are quite right, in the opinion of men; you are justified in the sight of men; but God knows your hearts; and the thing exalted by men is a stench in the nostrils of God. The law functioned till John. Now there has come this new declaration, interpretation, manifestation of the Kingship of God; and if you are going to enter into that Kingdom, you will have to take yourselves violently. That was always His outlook on entrance to the Kingdom.

"If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself,,, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

If any man is coming into the Kingdom, he comes that way.

(Picture: No disrespect to Rick Mercer, our Canadian satirist. Simply using his presentation of the sarcastic face.)

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