How Sharp the Edge
Posted by Job on July 26, 2009
The words of God can certainly bring us comfort. But they can also include what I call ‘hard sayings’. Some of these cut like a finely honed sword, others, can stop me in my tracks with Godly fear as I ponder upon the warning included.
Thinking about this today, three in particular came to mind. For you there may be different words, which after reading them, caused you to experience such a solemn warning in your spirit that you’ve never forgotten them.
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” Hebrews 12:15-17
Esau’s example of one who later looked to repent and could not, is frightening. It says he even wept in hope of being able to repent! But could find no place. I may not understand that theologically, but I sure get the warning: its the Holy Spirit which is even involved in our being able to repent. Without him drawing us to repentance, we too will ‘find no place’. Something to think about when we unwittingly grieve or offend him. (see: Ephesians 4:30 and Matthew 12:31)
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:12-19
Bottom line, unbelief could keep us from entering into our rest also. Its not enough to begin well, but its important to continue to ‘remain’ in faith; “we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end“. Satan battles constantly to take us into doubt and unbelief, causing us to question God. I believe its one of his most used tools on the believer.Those who came out of Egypt (a type of the world) and fell into unbelief are a ‘deadly’ serious example for us, not to do the same.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23
Is there anyone who has not stopped to ponder those words of our Lord? The idea that one can cast out demons, prophecy, and do many wonderful (good) works, and still be told ‘I never knew you’ is frightening. Jesus doesn’t say these people prophesied, cast out devils, or did good works by another spirit–in fact he says they did them all in his name. So what does Jesus mean? In the following verses (24-27) he continues:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Prior to this warning Jesus had been teaching the people about the Kingdom of God in what we call The Sermon on the Mount, (chapter 5 and 6). I think this is what he is talking about: that its not enough to prophecy, cast out devils or do good works in his name, that we must obey the teachings of Jesus, in order to be ‘known’ by him and to belong to him.
Using only one of the many things Jesus taught in chapters 5 and 6 as an example:
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” 5:43-46
And looking again to his words of warning, (I never knew you) its evident that ‘if’ we don’t love our enemies, etc; even though we cast out devils, do good works (all in his name) it plain doesn’t matter! We can do all kinds of ’spiritual works’, but if we are not abiding by the teachings of Jesus in our daily lives, (read chapters 5 and 6 in Matthew) they will be for naught.
Only by laying up in store a good foundation for the time when storms come, floods arise and winds blow, beating against our ‘house’ (verse 27) will we stand. And that foundation is Christ and his teachings.
just a simple Sunday musing..