Three Lenses for Life, Pt. 3
Study Guide , March 3, 2019
Pastor Clay Olsen
So what do you delight in? It’s remarkable that God revealed three things to us that He especially delights in on this Earth…and of course will also delight in them through all eternity. And when we also learn to delight in these three things and learn to then look at all of life through the lenses of these three things, not only will we then be more and more like our God, but we will also be much more useful to God, as well as helpful to everyone around us. And as we saw, these three things are revealed to us in Jer 9:24- “I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.” NASU
When God tells us exactly what He delights in, well, that changes everything. By knowing what God delights in we are given the key that unlocks not only what we should also delight in, but even how we should see everything in life; as through these three filters or lenses. And so we continue to unpack what we began looking into in our last study on the second virtue that God said He delights in, and that is ‘justice’.
You recall that ‘justice’ simply refers to ‘life as it should be’ on planet Earth. God delights in the way life ought to be, with order, righteousness, humility, and obedience to our God. Sounds simple enough, right? It’s like when God gave the laws of the 10 Commandments to Moses for how life was to be lived with their God…simple and straight forward – 10 Commandments. But when Moses went down the mountain to present God’s laws of how life should be, the people had already broken the 1st two! “You shall have no other gods before Me” and “You shall not make for yourself an idol”. And there stood this idol that had already been fashioned in the short time Moses had been gone! I’m sure Moses must have been thinking – “Oh no! This is going to be a lot harder than I thought!”
But one of the often overlooked points about the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai is the fact that the laws for Earth do not originate on Earth, nor are they supposed to, but rather the laws for Earth originate in the courts of Heaven. And because the world does not understand this, and also refuses to accept this, the world has become a mess of unjust laws and lives in a mess of injustice world-wide. But the reality is that God made it very clear to mankind that mankind was not to determine their own laws or precepts for how life should be lived on planet Earth. No, those laws are determined by the Creator and are then given by the Creator to mankind for everyone to then follow in order to live their lives guided by God’s ‘justice’, or ‘the way life should be’.
Remember, this is the wisdom that our Founding Fathers and America’s first judges had. For example: Justice John McLean (1785-1861) served in the U. S. Congress, and then held cabinet positions under two U. S. Presidents. His view on the importance of the Bible to American government and its institutions was clear: “For many years, my hope for the perpetuity of our institutions has rested upon Bible morality and the general dissemination of Christian principles. This is an element which did not exist in the ancient republics. It is a basis on which free governments may be maintained through all time…Free government is not a self-moving machine…Our mission of freedom is not carried out by brute force, by canon law, or any other law, except the moral law and those Christian principles which are found in the Scriptures.”1
Let’s be clear: There is either God’s law or man’s law. But since man did not create himself, the authority goes to the Creator on how all men should live. There’s a little board game that has a brief caveat in the manual about not changing the rules for the game. It says: “You no make-a-the game, you no-make-a-the rules!” Maybe Moses also said something like that after he found out what the people had done. But the point is that ‘justice’ refers to the fact that obedience to the revealed laws and commandments for mankind is the duty of every human being. Doing justice is a chief duty of mankind. Remember the verse? Mic 6:8- “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you, But to do justice, to love kindness,And to walk humbly with your God?” NASU
How odd that many people think that since they do not believe the revealed Scriptures of God that they are not duty bound to obey them. That is the epitome of self pride and foolish thinking! That’s why a record is being kept of unbelievers lives for review at the Great White Throne Judgment, because everyone is duty bound to obey their Creator. Justice requires it! Remember: Heaven is a gift, but Hell is earned. Rom 6:23- “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NASU Every day that the unrepentant unbeliever lives they are adding up the wages of their disobedience to the Creator and Lord of Life; and they will receive what is justly due them in their final sentencing.
Remember, God first reaches out in Lovingkindness, or Mercy. But when Mercy is spurned, Justice steps up; and therefore the unjust and unrepentant individuals will receive the wages of their sin. Every person on Earth has the responsibility to live by the just laws and precepts and principles of the Creator. I like how Dr. Hendricks used to say that the problem with America is that it needed on either side of the country both a Statue of Liberty and a Statue of Responsibility! You can’t have one without the other, no matter what the false prophets of humanism claim. Which has basically become the religion of many Americans now; ‘Humanism’ – thinking that mankind has the right to make up their own laws on planet Earth, instead of obeying those laws already given by the Creator.
And, of course, responsibility implies accountability. And that is a word that ‘humanists’ bristle against! And in this unbelievers share the same attitude of the Pharisees who said about Jesus – “We will not have this Man rule over us!” For one thing, they rejected the fact that ‘this Man’ was both ‘God and Man’. And a second thing, they refused to be accountable to or to be judged by His Words. Friends, this same Pharisaical attitude prevails in much of our society today.
How often do unbelievers quote or misquote from the Bible the passage on judging, especially when they do not want to be accountable to God’s Word? Yes, they pull out: “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Which is kind of interesting wording, as that’s really a borrowing of two different Bible versions: The King James and the older New American Standard version. But it seems to sound pretty authoritative that way. The problem is that in the Lord’s sermon on the mount His instructions to the people were not about ‘not judging others’. No, the correction was for them to stop judging other people by their own standards or their own opinions. Look at the passage: Matt 7:1-5- “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” NASU
God expects everyone to live very circumspect lives; being careful about how we live each day knowing that everyone is accountable to God and to one another for what they say and what they do. Plus, we are to both instruct and to correct others as well. That’s why Jesus gave another statement about this necessity to judge both oneself and others. However, hardly anyone outside of Bible believing Disciples of Jesus Christ, knows about this commandment by Jesus about judging. Look at this: John 7:24- “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” NASU
So God does in fact command us to judge others, yet, not by our own standards, nor by human standards, or by personal opinions and personal preferences, and such. And we are not to judge unjustly, like Jesus pointed out about the speck and the log. Meaning, that in the process of being our brothers keeper, in the process of loving our neighbor as ourselves, in the process of carrying out social justice and judgment, and in the process of obeying God’s commandment to judge all things, we are to humbly judge ourselves as well as others. And by carrying out justice humbly, it means that we always start by humbly judging ourselves by God’s standards to see if there is any area that needs correction in our own lives, as well as then doing justice with others by correcting and holding others accountable to that same standard of God’s Word!
Again, doing justice requires judging…or examining everything, but not by human standards…no, only by God’s standards, by God’s revealed Scriptures to mankind. Recall the Apostle Paul’s words? 2 Tim 3:16-17- “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” NASU God intends for His Words to be used to teach, reprove, correct and train, so that God’s people will be equipped and so that the world can then become…’convicted and repentant’. Note, God’s Word or Truth is what God the Holy Spirit uses to convict the world of sin, and righteous living, and the judgment to come. John 16:8- “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…” 13- “…when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth…” NASU Yes, The Gospel is certainly good news, but the good news of the Gospel follows the bad news that everyone’s sin has already condemned them, and there is more judgment yet to come. Again, justice requires judgment. That’s why people are called to repent and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior while they still have ‘today’, or are afforded the opportunity to humbly respond in repentance to God’s judgment that is already upon them.
But then there is something else about justice that God delights in, and we can therefore delight in it as well. For ‘justice’ insures ‘fairness’, that is; God’s justice insures fairness, both in provision as well as retribution. Now, we all know that this world is not fair, but thankfully, God is! Therefore, we are to know that even when we are treated unfairly by this world, or by others in this world, God is going to see to it that, one way or the other, that we, His people, are going to be fairly and justly compensated.
Case in point: 2 Tim 4:14-15- “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.” NASU Here is what the Apostle Paul knew, and what every believer is to know: The Lord will repay anyone for any harm they have ever caused you which they have not made right with God and you. God will see to that!
Remember, ‘Justice’ includes what God said in Romans 12:19 – “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” NASU You see, God is assuring us that He will repay everyone for every wrong done against us. And in knowing this, it reassures us that justice will be done. Because this world and everything in it belongs to God, sooner or later justice will always be done. It is an immutable, an unchanging, law of the Universe: Gal 6:7- “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” NASU
Remember, God’s people are the apple of His eye. And so there is no way any one should ever think that they can get away with mistreating God’s children and not have to face the vengeance of God for doing so. Just think of the vengeance that rests upon the persecutors of God’s church over the years, or the vengeance that rests upon anyone who falsely accuses, mistreats, or harms any of God’s children in any way. When you think about the promises of God be sure to include this promise from God: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
But think about it again: Justice – ‘just as it should be’. When God was speaking to Moses about what He wanted for His people He revealed how much He longed for them, really for us all, to live life just as it should be, so that they could then enjoy life in relationship with Him, just as God intended it to be. Listen to the heart of God here: Deut 5:29- “Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!” NASU So when you think of ‘justice’ think about how much God longs for us to have the kind of heart for Him and for His design for our lives that He has for us and has prepared for us. God knows that doing His will is the only way that life can be well for us; for anyone. Doing our duty to God is the secret to delight. As Dr. Warren Wiersbe so wonderfully put it: “Make duty your delight; then you can find joy in everything.” So wisdom is to look at all of life through our duty to God. For that is not only ‘Just and Right’, but it is simply the way God designed this world to be; a world of ‘lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness’.