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Monday, June 6, 2011

Mercy Instead of Judgment

Romans 2 : 1 - 4, You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? NIV

In the passage for today's devotion, Paul is teaching believers in Rome about the goodness of God. Paul is being very gracious, yet firm as he addresses the issue of hypocrisy in the church at Rome. Apparently, there were people who were being disobedient in their walk, and at the same time, they were judging others for their faults. In today's vernacular, we would call this practice, "Blind spot religion". This occurs whenever Christians see the faults of others, but are blind to their own faults, and in pride, they will tend to judge and condemn others. All the while, they are guilty of the same trespasses.

Today, the Lord wants me to share a couple of points about these particular verses to help us become more aware of God's goodness, instead of giving so much time and attention to the faults and failures of other believers. First of all, we need to recognize the attitude with which this judgmental mindset operates. It has a self-righteous stench to it. Beyond that, it will blind us to the goodness of God. Satan loves it when Christians become self-righteous and prideful. It allows the enemy to blind us to the truth so that we don't clearly see God's hand at work in our life or in the lives of others.

As a pastor, I have witnessed good hearted, well-meaning believers give into a trap of the Devil and sin. I've also watched how God's goodness would cover them and keep them from most of the consequences of their own doings. Instead of the person seeing and acknowledging the goodness of God for what it was because of the hardness of their heart, they simply dismissed it as "getting by with their sin." It is a terrible place to be spiritually. The place where Satan has a believer so deceived through pride that they can't even see the goodness of God as an opportunity to repent. Instead, they view His mercy as being His approval to partake of sin once more.

Note: There is no way possible for me to know who will be reading a particular devotion. I'm told that these words are forwarded to people all over the nation and in many parts of the world. Having stated that point, let me ask you a question. Are you a Christian, who is currently involved in an "activity" that is displeasing to your heavenly Father? If so, then know that God's goodness is at work on your behalf, and He is protecting you from the onslaught of the enemy who would love to consume your soul with the power of sin. BUT GOD!

The only way to see the goodness of God is to humble yourself... not try to justify your wrong actions. Although God gives all of us a period in which to come out of the "FOG" of sin and repent, if we should harden our hearts and decide to use His goodness as an occasion to continue in sin, we will force His hand of correction to rise against us. Remember Hebrews 12 tells us that God chastens those whom He loves and scourges every son whom He receives.

I hope this word today helps you to see more clearly the heart and love that God has for His people. God loves us so much that He will protect us from the repercussions of our sin when we fall from grace, to give us the opportunity to repent. However, if we should decide to continue in sin, He is left no other choice but to correct us as one of His children. Paul warns us in Galatians 6 that if we sow to the flesh, then we will of the flesh reap corruption, decay, and/or death. God's goodness will shield us from reaping what we have sown in our flesh until we repent, but if we don't, then He can choose to allow us to reap the harvest of our own sins. I love the goodness of God.

God Is So Good,
Pastor Asa

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