Nothing Escapes His Eyes

“But Peter said, ‘Annanias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of  the proceeds of the land?'”-Acts 5:4 (ESV)
A lot of countries claim that they are democratic societies. But upon closer inspection some prove themsleves to be anything but. While the governments of these countries might point out that they have the word “democratic” in the country’s name, have a constitution that guarantees the rights and freedoms of the people, and that they even hold elections, the experiences of the popuation under them show that these are all meaningless. The constitution is thrown out the window at the government’s convenience, the elections are tampered with to solidify the government’s hold, and the “democratic” tag is void of any truth. No matter what the rhetoric or propaganda of oppressive governments may claim, they cannot hide the truth from the rest of the world for it will alaways emerge to the surface and expose their deeds.
Annanias thought that he could convince the world of his piety by selling his land claiming to have given it all to God while keeping some of the proceeds for himself. Yet his intentions could not be hidden from God, nor from Peter who knew that something was amiss. Indeed, Peter knew immediately the moment Annanias laid the money at the apostle’s feet. It was the Holy Spirit who revealed to him Annanias’true intentions. Annanias paid the consequences of his deception with his life and he became an example to all showing that no subterfuge can escape the eyes of God. We are truly fools if we think we are capable of bending the truth and getting away with it. Though it may seem convinient at the time, we will reap the consequences of our lies and they will shame us as the truth is brought to light for God is a God of truth. Is it not better then to be honest in the first place? When we have allowed Christ to enter our lives and have submitted ourselves to the work of His Spirit, He will train us to uphold the truth in both our speech and intentions. He will give us the strength to tell the truth even when it is painful so that the consequences of dishonesty will not enslave us to an enduring misery, allowing us to live in the freedom that comes from living in integrity by the power of God.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Love Before Justice

“without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,” -2 Timothy 3:3 (NIV)

It has been argued that revolutionaries are amongst the most loving people in the world. In some cases there does appear to be a hint of truth in that statement. So great is their love for their nation and countrymen that they will risk all that they have in the service of creating a better society for all to live in. However, because a revolutionary’s love is but mere human love, it can easily be hijacked by sin. In their zeal, a revolutionary is quick to find enemies and persecute them with ruthless brutality. Their love does not extend to those they have deemed deserving to be punished for their crimes, whether real or imagined. Thus in the past century so many innocent lives have been snuffed out by these revolutionaries who claim to love by taking justice to a revolting extreme in the name of weeding out so-called “villains”.

Justice is something that is desirable and good. God Himself is a God of justice and desires that His righteousness be upheld. Yet too often we get carried away by the cause of justice and allow ourselves to fall into sin. How often do we look down upon those guilty of heinous crimes with anger or scorn? How often do we relish the thought of them receiving the harshest of sentences? It seems that we quickly forget Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:22 that, “anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” All of us are deserving of punishment under God’s holy standards. None of us, despite all our efforts to live moral lives can ever match God’s standards and vindicate ourselves before Him. Yet because God is a God of love He wants to redeem us so that we may not face eternal judgement, and instead partake in the joy and hope which comes from being in a relationship with Him. Through Christ’s death the penalty for our sins has been paid in full and by His resurrection we are made new in His sight. What right then do we have to withhold love and forgiveness from others when Christ Himself has forgiven us? When we have allowed His Spirit to take control of our attitudes, His love will overflow from within us, bringing healing and hope to those who desperately need it.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Overcome Factions With Love

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” –John 13:35 (NIV)

Studying church history is quite fascinating. Yet it is also interesting to learn just how many times the church had to overcome factionalism in its history. Even from its early days the church had to deal with discord and schisms which erupted within its ranks on more than one occasion. Some of these disagreements even turned violent, and were in most cases motivated by personal or political reasons. As I read through the annals of church history I sometimes wonder whether I am reading about the same people who have been called by Christ Himself to love one another just as how He has loved us. It is no wonder that the disparity between the example of Christ and the behaviour of His children at times has become a source of confusion for many; prompting us to ask the question why does this happen?

If one thing can be said of the church it is that it has not survived for over two millennia because of the efforts of man. On the contrary it is because of the love of Christ and the grace which He shows to His church that it still stands strong today. The truth of the matter is that every single human being on this Earth is fallen. It is our pride embedded within us which leads us into sin and compels us to become embittered and fight against our fellow man. However, Christ came so that through Him our fallen nature will be cast aside and we will be restored to the people which He intended us to be. To this end He has given us a new nature through His resurrection characterized by His love and righteousness. But because we were slaves to our old nature for so long, we need to allow Christ’s Spirit residing within us to train us in our new nature and perfect His love in us. This means desiring to know Him and to know His heart by spending time reading His Word and being in His presence. Disagreements will happen, but if we choose to not keep in step with the Spirit of Christ, then factions and sin will be the result. It is only when we constantly submit ourselves in humility to Christ and allow Him to work out our His love through us that we are able to love others and maintain unity. The choice is ours. Will we allow sin to taint our witness for Christ, or will we allow Him to use us so that we may be His lights in a world which needs hope?

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.