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[thoughts] God's Justice and Grace (September 6-12, 2004)

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  • Mark Roth
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    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 9, 2004
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      I have no control over and hereby disclaim ads/links above.
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      GOD'S JUSTICE AND GRACE
      (Genesis 6:5-8; 7:1-5,17,23; 8:14-16; 9:1)


      PROBING YOUR OWN HEART

      Does God see you wicked (Genesis 6:5) or righteous (Genesis 7:1)?

      Does the sin and degeneracy about you cause you to cry out for
      justice or grace?


      BUILDING ON SOME FOUNDATIONAL CONCEPTS

      God sees and knows all hearts.
      Our ways are always before the eyes of the Lord. He does not
      study our hearts by turn -- He knows us all the time. And as we
      well know, He knows us far better than we know ourselves. That
      should disquiet us to a certain degree. Knowing that He knows our
      known sin should lead us to repentance. God's intimate knowledge of
      us should also comfort and encourage us. Knowing that He knows
      those failings and sins which are unknown to us should move us to
      pray with David, "Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me
      from secret faults" (Psalm 19:12).

      God's justice requires His grace.
      Noah and his family saw it and accepted it. Their
      contemporaries saw it and rejected it. The "it" here is the grace
      of God. The Judge of all always extends grace before exacting
      justice. His grace is part of what makes His justice so pure.

      Wherever sin abounds, grace abounds more.
      As sin becomes more blatant and gross, our tendency will be to
      become more comfortable with the "milder" sins. Without a question,
      holy living in our day is a tough proposition, but no more
      difficult than it has ever been. God has clearly stated that sin
      will never "out populate" His grace: "Where sin abounded, grace did
      much more abound" (Romans 5:20). When we live by His grace, we
      enjoy life in a new dimension: the Spirit. We can look at all the
      opportunities we have to sin, and then look beyond them at our much
      more abounding resources for success. The reality of the grace and
      power of the Spirit in our hearts will fill us with optimism.
      Holy living is possible because it is God who does the work in
      us, moving us "to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians
      2:13).


      QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES

      Why did God wait so long to rain down judgment?
      God waited (and in our day still waits) to execute judgment
      because He is "merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant
      in goodness and truth" (Exodus 34:6). He is "a God full of
      compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and
      truth" (Psalm 86:15). People then, as people now, despised "the
      riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering," not
      knowing that His goodness waits to lead them to repentance (Romans
      2:4). Thank God for that dimension of His character! His
      longsuffering "waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a
      preparing" (1 Peter 3:20). God's delays are no delays at all --
      they are exquisite, on-time manifestations of divine dependability.
      "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count
      slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any
      should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter
      3:9).

      Is Genesis 6:6 an acknowledgment of failure of God's part?
      "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth,
      and it grieved him at his heart." The word *repented* translates a
      word that can also be used to express regret. So we cannot assume
      that Scriptures such as Genesis 6:6 signal a change of course for
      the Changeless One. Even though we cannot grasp the full meaning of
      this expression, we can rest assured that God never has and never
      will fail. He Who is perfect has no need to amend His ways or
      plans.
      Consider the question from another mind-bending angle. Change
      is possible only over time, right? If I change my mind about
      something, I require at least one second of time to entertain one
      opinion and then at least another second to switch to an opposing
      opinion. Thus, any kind of change, whether mental or physical or
      spiritual, requires time. So how shall the Eternal One change when
      He inhabits the eternal present? The Timeless One is also the
      Changeless One!

      Why did Noah find grace in the Lord's eyes?
      Noah's heart was right before God, even though as a man he
      surely had not attained to sinless perfection. Noah's standing
      before God was that of a righteous man -- "thee have I seen
      righteous before me in this generation" (Genesis 7:1). Noah was a
      man whose heart was to do "according unto all that the LORD
      commanded him" (Genesis 7:5).

      Why accept that this was a global flood and not a local or regional
      one?
      Why not? Is there genuine evidence contrary to Genesis 6:17
      and 2 Peter 2:5?



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