The Unseen Consequence
My recent posts have focused on God's people being prepared for the Lord's return. Preparation for the Lord's return means obedience through faith. Here's the problem. Are we always aware when we are disobedient or willfully ignorant?
God gave a clear command in Deuteronomy 15 to release all the poor from their debt every seventh year. However, He also warned the people about their hardness of heart. "Be careful that there is no mean-spirited thought in your heart, such as, 'The seventh year, the year of release of debts, is near,' and your eye is malicious toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry out to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you" Deuteronomy 15:9.
If we are honest, it is all too easy to say to oneself, what right do they have to take my money, the money that is mine, except my loaning it to them and exempt God's command to be generous and loving? Nevertheless, God told the Israelites, concluding verse nine, "..it will be sin "in" you."
In context, by sovereign election, God chose to bless Israel and condemn Egypt and the people groups of Canaan. Israel was not chosen to enter Canaan to satisfy their sinful lusts in the land of blessing but to be a light to the nations of God's saving love that turns His chosen people to righteous living.
God promised to bless, and no doubt in the Israeli mind, or anyone for that matter, blessing equals material prosperity. However, the warning is about the poor crying out against the greedy and unloving so that, mark this principle, it becomes a sin "in" us when we disregard the warning. Sin itself is seldom understood as the consequence because the sin of disobedience is the source. Sins lead to negative consequences in this life; however, the effect to be feared and avoided most is the hardening of our hearts through unbelief at God's warnings.
As the warning came to Israel then, so it comes to the Church today. "Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as on the day of trials in the wilderness, where your father put Me to the test, and saw my works for forty years. "Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart, and they did not know my ways; as I swore in My anger, 'They certainly shall not enter My rest.'" Hebrews 3:7-10.
Concluding and Vital Words of Application
I often hear, "Nobody's perfect." This statement comes from two types of people:
The first is those who think they're in the Church but are false converts. They have never truly understood their sinful condition but only done as they were told and "Received Jesus" without any real connection to the coming wrath of God upon their evil souls. They then think of themselves as in the kingdom, not because of forgiveness of sin and repentance by turning away from them. Furthermore, they believe they can please God through good works or, even worse, through all their continuing sins, as if no further transformation by God is needed.
The second type is an authentic believer whose conscience is increasingly sensitive to sins and may have a conscience problem. The solution to defilement is clearly stated in 1 John 1. The Old Testament reference for conscience cleansing is Numbers 19. The red heifer was distinctly separate from other sacrifices as it was for conscience cleansing. The true believer is in a constant state of repentance. Luther said it best in number four in his 95 theses. "The penalty of sin remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true inner repentance), namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven." The believer must understand himself as not perfect but should never make light of sin through imperfection.
"But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’sdescendants, but: “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE NAMED.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants." Romans 9:6-8
Today, it is not those who think they have chosen God who goes to be with Jesus but those whom God has chosen and proved by their ongoing repentance.
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