Vengeance Belongeth Unto the Lord #1

Monday, May 21, 2012

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19 KJV).

When people do us wrong, human nature wants to retaliate, to devise a plan to get even. Today’s Scripture causes us to think otherwise… literally.

Paul is quoting the LORD’s words in Deuteronomy 32:35: “To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.” This phrase originally described God chastising Israel for their wickedness. (He will do this during the seven-year Tribulation too; Hebrews 10:26-31.)

God’s wrath, Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year Tribulation, is still postponed. God has not yet poured out His wrath on wicked man (Psalm 2:4,5). For nearly 2,000 years, our sinful world has enjoyed the riches of God’s grace. God is extending our Dispensation of Grace so that more people can get saved before His wrath is poured out on earth. Scoffers mock God, having deceived themselves into thinking that they will never face His righteous wrath. What foolishness!

“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men” (1 Thessalonians 5:15). We need not “pay back” those who hurt us, for that sin will either be dealt with at Christ’s cross (if these people trust Christ), or they will have to pay for that sin by enduring God’s wrath during the Tribulation and finally, suffering in the everlasting lake of fire.

“O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud” (Psalm 94:1,2). “…The righteous judgment of God… [He] will render to every man according to his deeds… to them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish…” (Romans 2:5-9).

Rest assured, no injustice will ever go unpunished…. for “vengeance belongeth unto the Lord.”

A Double Promise, A Triple Failure, A Second Chance

Friday, May 4, 2012

“And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62 KJV).

Why is Peter weeping bitterly in today’s Scripture?

Moments from His arrest, trial, and ultimate crucifixion, our Lord Jesus tells His eleven apostles: “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written [Zechariah 13:7], I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee” (Matthew 26:31,32).

Jesus knows that He is about to be arrested. He explains to His apostles that they will be ashamed of Him and they will abandon Him when the soldiers come to capture Him. “Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended” (verse 33).

The Lord Jesus then replies, “Verily, I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice [three times]” (verse 34). Peter argues, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee” (verse 35). In fact, all of the disciples agree they will not abandon Jesus Christ (verse 35).

Once Jesus is arrested, Peter goes to the palace to watch Jesus’ trial from a distance. On three separate occasions, Peter is recognized as a follower of Jesus, and all three times he denies he is a disciple of Christ (Matthew 27:69-74; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62); then, the rooster crows.

What a heartbreaking verse: And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Luke 22:61). Then today’s Scripture says, “And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”

Peter miserably failed the Lord—thrice—despite his double promise not to. We too are sinners: oftentimes, we miserably fail the Lord, even when we doubly promise not to. But, just as Jesus Christ forgave Peter and gave him another chance (John 21:15-17), we are thankful that our gracious God has forgiven us in Christ (Colossians 2:13) and that He gives us second chances too! 🙂

Stand in Awe of the LORD

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

“Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (Psalm 33:8 KJV).

Who stands in awe of God today? Very few. For the past 2,000 years, our world has grown very comfortable in its sins. After all, in this the Dispensation of Grace, God is not imputing the world’s trespasses unto it (2 Corinthians 5:19). God’s attitude toward the whole world today, saved and lost, is “grace and peace” (the expression with which Paul began every epistle). Alas, rather than gratefully accepting God’s grace, man has taken advantage of God’s grace.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 explains man’s overall attitude toward God in the Dispensation of Grace: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Today, scoffers mock God and blaspheme His name, with no immediate judgment. They ridicule His Word and persecute His saints. Operating under the false impression they have gotten away with it, they sin even more.

Look at how harshly God dealt with rebellious people in time past (Noah’s contemporaries, Sodom and Gomorrah, et cetera). Today, God does not pour out His wrath and judgment. The day is coming however, when God’s wrath will be executed. Our world is headed for the Tribulation, “the day of the vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:2; cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10).

We who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we have submitted to God’s authority. We saints humbly stand in awe of God, our Creator, our Saviour, and our Head, awed by His grace, love, and mercy. We respect His power and authority. But, most of the world, lost and headed for hell, hates God.

Nevertheless, the day is speedily approaching when, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10,11). In that day, ALL will be forced to kneel in awe of the LORD!

The Wisdom Given to Our Beloved Brother Paul

Sunday, March 11, 2012

“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

The Apostle Peter, in verses 3,4, references scoffers who ask, “Where is the promise of [Christ’s] coming?” Decades after the Lord Jesus had resurrected and ascended into heaven, James, Peter, and John spoke of His Second Coming as if it were just moments away (James 5:8,9; 1 Peter 4:7; 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:18). They wrote 2,000 years ago, and Christ never came. Is Christ ever coming back?

In today’s Scripture, Peter admits that when he and the Apostles James and John met with the Apostle Paul in Acts chapter 15 (Galatians chapter 2) circa A.D. 50, Paul taught them something. To Paul alone God entrusted a body of truth that not even Peter fully understood (even at this late date of 2 Peter circa A.D. 68)—Peter and Paul preached separate messages (see Galatians 2:1-9). Peter acknowledged that Christ gave exclusively to Paul “the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25,26; Ephesians 3:1-9). Furthermore, Peter verified Paul’s 13 epistles, Romans through Philemon, as “scripture.” Peter warned that people “wrest” (corrupt) Paul’s epistles as they do the other Bible books.

Why has Christ not come back, Peter? “The Lord is not slack [lazy, unreliable] 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). God wants all people to be saved. He wants no one to suffer His wrath and judgment (the seven-year Tribulation) because His Son Jesus paid for our sins at Calvary’s cross!

Yes, Christ will be back, but God is postponing Israel’s prophetic program in order to extend this the Dispensation of Grace and give more people a chance to be saved before His wrath comes on earth.

Saved for a Purpose

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7 KJV).

Verse 3 explains that we once walked in foolishness and disobedience, fulfilling the sins of the flesh (cf. Ephesians 2:2,3). Today’s Scripture explains that now God’s love and kindness have been shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. If we have trusted alone in Christ Jesus, by God’s grace, we are “justified” (made right, declared right) in God’s eyes. Grace is everything that God can do for us through Christ Jesus’ dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection for our justification.

Did God save us because of something we did? NO! Today’s Scripture says that God saved us not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.” The only works we did were those things that offended God (Romans 7:5; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 2:3; Colossians 3:5-10; et al.). God saved us simply “according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

“For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God” (Romans 4:2). We cannot brag because our salvation had nothing to do with our good works—the best of our “good” works was “dung!”  We “glory” (rejoice) in Christ’s righteousness, not in our “goodness” (Galatians 6:14).

So why did God save us? “[God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7). God wants to show us how good and great He is. He saved us so He can eventually install us in the government of heaven to rule for His glory forever.