|Volume 20 Number 10 October 2018||
“Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). Parents normally prefer to discipline their children immediately. This teaches a child the principle of consequence. Yet, God chooses to allow the sinner to go unpunished. By doing this, Solomon noted that men are more likely to sin again and to sin more often. This being the case, why does God work this way?
Peter said, “God is patient, not wanting any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Paul noted that “God desires all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4). We are fortunate that God doesn’t immediately punish. If He did, we would not have the time to repent. Neither would we have the time to serve Him. The fact is, the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Solomon noted that most men, when given more time, are simply given more opportunity to sin. However, for those who have a heart for God, time is a gift. With that time, necessary corrections can be made (Romans 2:4). Yet, know this: “it will be well for those who fear God” (Ecclesiastes 8:12), but “it will not be well for the evil man“ (Ecclesiastes 8:13).
Many proclaim they love Jesus. How many really do will be determined by the Righteous Judge at the Last Day (2 Timothy 4:8). Those who “love His appearing” will be those who have been prepared according to Jesus’ terms. Those terms are revealed; they are not secret. The revealed words of Christ will be the standard of judgment in the Last Day (John 12:48). These words include those revealed to the apostles and the prophets by the Spirit poured out after Jesus’ Ascension (John 16:13; Acts 2:33; Ephesians 3:5; Hebrews 1:1-3). There is no guessing as to what is required of us.
Of course, one may prefer to guess (I speak sarcastically). Many people appear to so prefer. There is an attitude in the world of Christendom that emphasizes love, but that love is redefined in terms of a postmodern world. Postmodern—some say post-Christian—societies emphasize the equality of all belief systems. There is no truth in this worldview (except, of course, the doctrine-devastating irony that “the truth is that there is no truth”). Love is defined as full acceptance and endorsement of all worldviews.
This worldly philosophy spills over into the mindset of the Christian who desires minimal friction with the world. Just love. Don’t study on disagreements. Don’t aim to “speak the same thing” (1 Corinthians 1:10). Just love. Love Jesus, and love people. That is all you need. This is the Postmodernism absolute doctrine.
However, the Savior of the world defined love. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). That simple admonition could not be surpassed in its profundity [wisdom]. It is augmented on almost every page of Scripture. For brief examples, think of James 1:22. “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only…” Think of Matthew 7:21, which reads, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Meditate on the multiple illustrations of how “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26).
These passages, and the multitude of others, are devastating to the “faith only” doctrine, the “grace only” doctrine and the “love only” doctrine. The combination of John 14:15 and John 12:48 necessitates the lover of God dig deeply into the Word constantly, honestly and diligently to see what those commandments are. The one who loves the Lord will want to please Him. One cannot please Him without knowing His commandments. The “think-so” mentality won’t work. The commandments are revealed. That knowledge, then, must result in obedience.
It seems that the study in the Word is a test of love in itself. Does the one who claims to be a disciple have love enough to put in the effort to seek the will of the Lord?