I continue to be amazed at the vitriol thrown at the jury of the Casey Anthony trial. One lady called them a bunch of idiots. No one has called the prosecutor an idiot. Has anyone considered that perhaps his smug courtroom demeanor may have been an outward sign of some pride issues? I donâ€™t know this man nor do I know his motives, no more than 99% of the commentators do about the evidence presented in the case. Iâ€™m still awaiting eyewitness or forensic evidence that would convict Casey.
Listen, I understand the desire for vengeance. The death of a beautiful little girl is going unpunished (so far) by our American justice system. We Americans want justice; we are a nation of laws. Nevertheless, if we try to usurp that system, then we violate the very system of laws we are trying to enforce.
We learned in Wednesdayâ€™s devotional that vengeance is Godâ€™s prerogative. Today we need to look at Godâ€™s principle of vengeance. Imagine if God had the level of vengeance we have. Imagine if God held us up to the standards we set for others. This was the command Jesus gave us. It was a warning as much as it was a command:
â€œJudge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brotherâ€™s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, â€˜Let me remove the speck from your eyeâ€™; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brotherâ€™s eye.â€ (Matthew 7:1-5)
Let me take a moment to explain this passage because it is a liberalâ€™s favorite rebuttal to defend a hellish lifestyle. Jesus is not teaching to be quiet in the public arena. He is not saying that we cannot speak out against sin. Jesus is teaching us to not compare others to ourselves. And if we do then we will have to live up to the same standards we set for others.
We cannot trust our own hearts. We honestly believe we act from pure motives and the majority of times if we allowed the preeminence of the Holy Spirit to dominate our souls then we would realize just how wicked and selfish most our motives are. And if our Heavenly Father were to acts towards us with the vengeance we direct towards others, then woe be to us! But He did not and does not, and thankfully so. John Phillips explains the importance of Godâ€™s principle of vengeance:
The cross represents the very highest manifestation of the hatred in the heart of man toward God. At the same time it represents the very highest manifestation of the love in the heart of God toward man. That very spear which pierced the Saviorâ€™s side drew forth the blood that saves.
Phillips is commenting on Romans 12:20-21:
â€œTherefore â€˜If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.â€™ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.â€
Phillips tells us â€œIt was this very way that God reacted to Calvary.â€
How would you react to Calvary? How would you, better yet, how do you react to injustice. Can you think of a more outrageous case of injustice than Calvary? Can you think of one human less deserving to die than Jesus? And yet God the Father did not avenge the death of His Precious Son.
Not yet at least.
Beloved, we saw in our last devotional that retaliation is forbidden, remember?
â€œRepay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.â€ (Romans 12:17)
This does not mean that justice is not to be served; it means we are not to take justice into our own hands. We are not to be a vengeful people.
â€œDo not say, â€˜I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.â€™â€ (Proverbs 24:29)
This is a hard teaching, I know. I am by nature a vengeful person. I always got even before Jesus saved me. But we can rest in the promise that God will get His vengeance.
â€œDo not say, â€˜I will recompense evilâ€™; wait for the LORD, and He will save you.â€ (Proverbs 20:22)
Perhaps you are reading this and are thinking; this is silliness what he has written. I know, once I would have thought so too. But friend when Jesus saved me He changed my thinking and my heart. It doesnâ€™t mean I donâ€™t sin anymore; I do. What it means is that I am no longer okay with that sin.
It also doesnâ€™t mean that my old nature has gone away; if I give my flesh preeminence then I can easily go back to my old nature. What it means is that I am a new creature made in Christ Jesus and the old man is no longer to have first place.
Are you unable to forgive others? Maybe youâ€™ve never received the forgiveness found in and bought by the precious blood of Jesus. If you havenâ€™t, admit that youâ€™re a sinner needing salvation. You know you are not good enough to go to heaven.
No one is.
You know that Jesus paid the price for your sins on the cross. All you have to do is admit that your are a sinner, thatâ€™s what confession is. It is agreeing with Godâ€™s standards and giving up on yours. Accept the gift of forgiveness that cost our Heavenly Father so much. Repent of your lifestyle, that means turn away from it 180 degrees and turn to Jesus Christ.
Ask Him to save you and be the Lord of your life.
If you did that, I would love to hear from you.
And if you did, I would love to help you find a local church or maybe you attend church now. Wonâ€™t you go forward on Sunday and make your private profession public? Your church family will rejoice with you.
Beloved, let us look toward this weekend as a respite from all the hysterical hype of the past week and turn our focus unto Jesus.
I pray you have a blessed weekend and please, all of you, please do go to church on Sunday.
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Copyright Â© 2011 David Jeffers
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