21.5 Revelation – God’s justice and mercy under the new covenant

God’s justice and mercy under the new covenant

Yesterday we talked about how sin broke our perfect holy relationship with God, the same way a child breaks a window.  We discussed that while justice and mercy were consistent in the old testament as well as in the new, since there is only one God and He is unchanging, the “fix” under the old testament was insufficient.  A patch was put in place, but it wasn’t a fix.  We simply did not have the means to pay the price of the fix.

You see, the price of the repair was one perfect life, lived, and laid down in perfect, full, and holy obedience.  Only one man has ever lived such a life, and He is who starts the New Testament and the New Covenant.

By Jesus’ work, through His entire life, to deny temptation, to resist sin, culminating first in His sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, Jesus fully paid the price to restore the perfect holy relationship between God and mankind.

By accepting the sacrifice of Jesus as the offering made for you, and agreeing to come under Him as your savior, you are not held responsible for the broken relationship, no payment is required and the relationship is restored.  Jesus perfectly repairs the broken glass on both sides of the window (God’s side and Man’s side).

Standing firm in resolve to not accept Jesus is to be, as my grandmother would have said, “way too big for your britches” and “your mouth is writing checks you cannot cash”.  If we deny to accept Jesus, then we tell God, we think the mud we flung up in the window is sufficient repair.  It is not only wrong, but it is insulting.  God, in mercy, holds back wrath even on these people, but only for a time.

In the final days, when Jesus comes again, He will come again to set things right.  He will wash the window of our spiritual relationship clean with the full power of God’s wrath.  All the mud and dirt will be removed and the window will once again sparkle as new.  But those who want to be judged by the dirt they produced, will no longer receive mercy and payment for sin will be required.  It is a payment that can never be fulfilled without Jesus, so they agonize forever in the debtor’s prison of Hell.

While this sounds horrible, it is what they want and choose, because the offer to accept Jesus’ payment was never rescinded.  Also, the removal of sin from the world, something that only makes sense to do along with a restriction on new sin entering, is something we who have accepted Jesus’ gift long for.

Don’t you want to see the beauty in the perfectly restored window of the perfectly restored relationship with God?  When John talks about the entire sea of glass before the throne alight with fire, this is what I think of.  No dings, not cracks, no smudges, no blurs, no imperfection of any kind, no dirt, no mud, no dust – a perfect shining brilliantly, like it is on fire, reflection of the perfectly restored relationship.

My Answers:

10.
a.
While we were sinners (i.e., did nothing to earn it), Christ died for us.  We are justified by His blood (found not-guilty) and saved from wrath through Him and reconciled to God.  On our own merits we deserve death but instead we are made alive in Christ, given a new life, a new body, a new spirit for eternity

b.
Christ bore our sins.  He, who was perfect, was not compelled to die – it was not a just sentence for Him since He was free of all transgression.  So, He did not suffer and die for His own sins, but for ours.  The fact that He paid the price is a ticket that He need not use but gives as a gift to each of us if only we accept it.

11.
humility, love, sacrifice, not conforming to the pattern of the world but being transformed to become holy, to be honest with God and ourselves, to confess our sins and truly repent (which includes change)

21.2 Revelation – Saved not Spoiled

Saved not Spoiled

Have you been around a spoiled child?  The one who is at the grocery store with mom or dad and throwing a total temper tantrum over the most minor thing and mom or dad immediately bend to their wishes?

Most of us understand that love does not mean always getting what you want.  Sometimes the things we want are bad for us.  Sometimes we need to go through difficulty and challenges to build our muscles (physical and spiritual).  Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes the answer is no.  Sometimes the answer would be yes, but the way we go about asking the question prompts a no.

When God adopts us as his children, that doesn’t mean we get whatever we want.  Even though God’s resources are unlimited, He understands that we need limits and boundaries.  Not a lot of them, but a few to define the path and keep us safe.

While God’s mercy has no limitations, He elects to deploy it in ways that also embody the most grace for us.  Grace as a parent who bends down to the child and firmly emphasizes, I know you want it, but the answer is still no, now let’s go on and do the other wonderful things that I have planned for your day instead of wallowing on this dirty ground.

While God is also just, we need to not fool ourselves into believing we do anything to earn God’s favor.  Like a newborn infant, we cry, we throw up, we soil our diapers and that is about it.  Our greatest talent is cooing.  God’s provision is not a reward – we are incapable of providing God with anything He does not already have – it is again like a parent of that child.

My Answers:

3.
a.
Justice, dispensing just payment for actions and states both positive and negative, fair, equitable, honest, doing what is right
In our world today, justice is what is right in the eyes of man and, in particular, those in power.  It is delivered cloaked and unevenly.  Those demanding tolerance are normally the least tolerant of views unlike their own.

Mercy, compassionate, lenient, forgiving, dispensing grace, charity, safe quarter
Mercy is becoming an expectation or entitlement.  “I made bad decisions so you should not hold that against me” Mortgage crisis, student debt. – But the church still responds to those in need, including widows and orphans.

b.
God is slow to anger, abounding in love, forgiving wickedness, but also just and does not leave any sin unpunished

4.
Countless times of mercy, every day I’m alive is a day wrapped in mercy
Justice in the repercussions of choices, such as arthritis and obesity