Sunday, November 14, 2010
Didn't I Send It?
I remember an adult Bible study session when one of the men commented on the recent earthquake devastation in Haiti. He made us aware of a time in the history of that nation when leaders fresh from a colonial experience made a public pledge of allegiance to voodoo. We know that the island is heavily into witchcraft.
Others in the group took great exception to the suggestion that God had "caused" the devastation. They reminded that the judicial hammer of the Old Testament had been over-ridden by the "golden rule" of the New Covenant instituted by Jesus, the friend of sinners.
One might take a look at the story in John 8 where Jesus spares the woman caught in adultery. Indeed the religious crowd had found her in the very act. There is no explanation as to why the male wrongdoer was not also dragged forward for censure. Jesus discerned that this defect in the process prohibited any sentence of stoning unto death as prescribed in the law. No man in the gathering was sinless or impartial. No man was entitled to cast the first stone. Except Jesus. He assured the woman that he did not condemn her. He recognized her genuine contrition. He told her to "go and sin no more".
And this was entirely consistent with the mission of Jesus at that time. John tells us in the third chapter of his Gospel that 'God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved'.
As extensions of our Lord, we the members of His Body continue to woo the sinner and to offer the free gift of grace in this process of "repentance unto life". But another Day is coming! One in which Jesus will fully and truly perform the function of Judge. We must direct toward Him the same holy fear which we know the Father requires.
The Father has already said in His Word such things as the following:
6And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
7And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.
8So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
9I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
10I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
11I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
12Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.