Monday, January 30, 2012

Reflections on "My Utmost" January 30 Part III

Shall I tell my "Eli" what God has shown to me? That is where the dilemma of obedience comes in. We disobey God by becoming amateur providences – I must shield "Eli," the best people we know. God did not tell Samuel to tell Eli; he had to decide that for himself. God’s call to you may hurt your "Eli;" but if you try to prevent the suffering in another life, it will prove an obstruction between your soul and God. It is at your own peril that you prevent the cutting off of the right hand or the plucking out of the eye.

The issue for us is not that we are trying to be amateur providences, but rather that we fear the reprisal of men, that we love the praise of men more than God:

"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

"For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." (John 12: 43-44)

It is disturbing to read Oswald Chambers speak of the maiming of the members. Jesus did not actually insist that we cut ourselves in order to make ourselves holy.

First of all, the law forbade the Jews from hurting themselves in the first place:

Now let's look at the full context from which Chambers quotes Jesus:

"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

"And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." (Matthew 5: 29-30)

Jesus spoke these words in the context of the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus brought the Law back to its moral, pristine, and impossible height. In no way are we expected, through our own efforts to maintain these impossible standard. On the contrary, Jesus was making the point that if we insist on maintain our own righteousness, we would have to resort to maiming ourselves, causing irreparable damage.

A righteousness that exceeded that of the Pharisees (cf Matthew 5: 20) can only be given to us. We do not enter the Kingdom of Heaven; rather, the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, brought to life and eternal vitality through the Finished Work of Jesus Christ:

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 17)


"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8: 31-32)

And finally:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5: 21)

If we are trying to prevent the suffering in someone else's life, it is borne on the devilish sense of guilt, on condemnation, that if we really "loved" someone, we would not let them endure any hardship.

Yet there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (cf Romans 8:1).

We cannot presume to love anyone better than Christ, we died for us and gave us His life for us (cf Galatians 2:20)

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