Friday, 29 April 2016

No Compromise

"The good that I would, I do not; the evil that I would not, that I do".

Can you relate to that frustration?

Others seem to have reacted to the struggle and gone to the other extreme by becoming happily all-accepting - accepting both of themselves and of others despite any behaviours they might have.

Is that what we should do? Should we accept sins as just an inevitable part of our humanness, and pretend to go on serving God with that mixture of sins and God's grace going on in our life? 

Should we happily accept something which we think is a sin in a brother's life, and try to just all get on in the church without ever rebuking sins? what about sins in a leader's life? 

Or should we make a lot more of an issue about sins than that. Is the problem just that we haven't tried hard enough?

What's right - a la-di-da atttitude about sins and grace, or to keep trying harder, or what?

Early this morning I asked the Lord concerning this. Which is it? What is right. 

Straightaway I saw in my spirit something like the picture below:

Notice it's not all red; it's not all blue - I particularly noticed the strong white line existing in-between the two. (It reminded me of the Pepsi logo.) 

White represents the righteousness of God - and that's the answer.

The Gospel is not all 'red' - it's not all to do with just teaching about sin, and striving for holiness alone; but neither is the Gospel all on the blue-side - as if grace means sins may as well not even be sins any more for all we need care. (Because "What a man soweth, that shall he also reap," is still a relevant principle. What makes the picture an accurate representation of the Gospel message and power is that  white line down the middle - righteousness of God.)

Which side are you in? the question came to me, as I pondered the picture. 

I'm on the side of the grace of God - the blue side. But that's not because there's no more any red side, as if we've learned to just live with sins - it's because the righteousness of God has made a divide between us and sin. And not just in theory only, but in power and provision and practise. 

If that white line was not there, we might think we're all 'blue' but in reality in a liquid we'd end up in a murky, grey mixture of purple or mauve instead. Not the clear distinction between red and blue that we see in the picture above.

If someone on the red side looked towards the blue side without the middle white line, he'd see a murky blend of the colours; and visa versa - if someone on the blue side looked toward the red side without the white line, he also would see only a murky blend of mauve. 

But with the white line in the middle, both the red and the blue are actually enhanced in colour. With the white divide and backdrop, on the red side you'd see only red - and an enhanced red at that; while on the blue side you'd see only blue - and a beautifully enhanced blue at that.

The righteousness of God causes sin to appear terribly sinful, like a backdrop of white against a red liquid enhances its redness; but that's not the only thing God's righteousness does - it has also enabled God's grace to appear more wonderful and to function more fully and completely and effectually in our lives - like a backdrop of pure, bright white enhances the beauty of a liquid's blueness. 

See, God's grace isn't offered scandalously (if we define scandalous as offending morality or law) - it's offered on a just basis. God's grace is righteous - and it makes men righteous - not only in theory, but in power and practise. The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel. The cross showed sin to be terribly sinful - but equally so and much more so it also provided the grace of God on a just basis, a legal basis - not scandalously, from the viewpoint of the Law. Jesus introduced the New Covenant without ever breaking a single point of the Old Covenant. The cross carried-out all of the ethics modelled by Moses' Law - in fact, the true picture is actually a reverse of that - Moses' Law was only a shadow of the righteousness of God which would later be demonstrated by the cross. Walking in the Spirit means a lifestyle against which there was no point of law.

So the thing to do is keep looking at the white. We're not just trying to imagine everything's nice and blue if really there's been a mixture with red and we're really an undefined sort of purple. No - we're looking at that nice, bright white - which has separated us from the red - and all is indeed beautiful, glistening blue. Look to the cross and its effectiveness. See the righteousness of God in it, from faith to faith.

Study what the New Testament teaches about that dividing white line of God's righteousness which the cross has made us.

Can we really live up to this? If we were on the red side, we'd feel defeated so many times. We don't have to dilute the clearly defined colours of the Word of God. We can come from sincerity, from God Himself - we can speak as people in Christ. Even from God's vantage point what we are doing is seen as perfectly righteous. It's not that we commend ourselves on our own contrived basis. God has written that logo above so to speak, into our hearts - white separating the red from the blue. We have this trust toward God, through Christ. He's the One who made us able for this. Able to minister it. This New Covenant. Not on the red side, because that results in condemnation - but thoroughly in the blue, in the Spirit, life!

What we're ministering, is righteousness - not a tolerated blend of colours. But not a striving for righteousness like what exists on the red side - but the gift of real righteousness. Since we have this confidence, we speak plainly, unreservedly, boldly. The Spirit of the Lord gave us this freedom. Like looking in a mirror, we look into the image of the glory of God, and are changed into the same image by the Spirit of God - really, truly.

There's no need for doubleness. We've received mercy, we've renounced the red both in our lives and in our presentation of God's scheme in the Word. We are what we preach and we preach what we are and what we have in us. The pristine righteousness of God. That's what makes grace beautiful blue - it's not scandalous (without ethics).

So we don't become disheartened by any sense of inadequacy - because our adequacy didn't come from ourself but from God through this Gospel. We can literally commend ourselves to every man's conscience - because God's grace has separated us from sin both legally and in our real experience. 

Yet we don't preach ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord. We are just His servants for others' sakes. The knowledge of the glory of God is important. Fallen man has lost that knowledge. It's as they look into that glory, in the person of Jesus Christ, that men are changed into the same image by the Spirit. 

Show people the righteousness of Jesus Christ - His life, the cross - His resurrection. Keep looking at it ourselves. Then blue (God's grace) will truly be blue without compromising with any red.

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