Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Who Owns Your Life?

John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

It is puzzling for the Christian to look into the eyes of unbelievers & see them lacking the fear of judgment. We read God’s Word & are humbled at the extent of His wrath upon men for sin. But it is for the sake of justice & righteousness that God must produce an indictment for every sin.

Ezekiel 18:1-4 The word of the LORD came to me: (2) "What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'? (3) As I live, declares the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. (4) Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

The soul who sins shall die”- Thus the reason for the utter pervasiveness of death. As Scripture teaches, “all have sinned” & so all must suffer through the sting of a physical death. Sin & death are a tangible tandem testifying to the truth of judgment; both are clearly real, for they are all around us, & so they, in the light of God’s Word, add veracity & conviction surrounding the certainty of God’s judgment.

God is righteous despite the many deadly tragedies occurring worldwide on a daily basis. We see apparent randomness in suffering & death in that the elect of God suffer right alongside (or worse, out in front of) the ungodly. We grouse “Why, Lord?” Aside from the aforementioned tandem testimonies of sin & death, we miss the fundamental truth that our lives are not our own. All life is a gift from God- as Deuteronomy 32:39 states- “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” And if all life originates, as well as reverts to the Almighty, therein making them all His possession, how much more so would this be true in the case of His bond-servants, even His very children? Therefore:

We err when we view this life as our possession. God has said “Behold, all souls are mine;” life is His to give & His to take away- as He desires.

Ezekiel 18:23-32Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? (24) But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die. (25) Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? (26) When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. (27) Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. (28) Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. (29) Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?
(30) Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. (31) Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? (32) For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live."

God judges the impenitent not in gleeful delight, but in somber duty. Therein, in judgment, there is no pleasure for the righteous; yea, the Most Righteous is all the more not pleasured to judge.

Nevertheless, for those under the oppression of the wicked judgment, the righteous judgment comes with great joy, for both Judge & defendant. Witness the words of David as he suffered unjustly, but expected God’s future judgment:

Psalms 35:9-12 Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD, exulting in his salvation. (10) All my bones shall say, "O LORD, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?" (11) Malicious witnesses rise up; they ask me of things that I do not know. (12) They repay me evil for good; my soul is bereft…(28) Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication; And let them say continually, "The LORD be magnified, Who delights in the prosperity of His servant." (28) And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And Your praise all day long.

1 Chronicles 16:33 Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD; For He is coming to judge the earth.

So we rejoice not in the suffering of the wicked, but in the sovereign power of His salvation. How can we neglect so great a salvation as this that always triumphs, either at the cross or the Bema Seat, in righteous judgment?

Who else could own your life but the very One who enabled you to “pass from death to life“?

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