Lest Satan Should Get an Advantage of Us

Saturday, August 4, 2012

“To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:10,11 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, we learn that the Corinthians and the Apostle Paul had forgiven someone. Who was this individual, and why was it necessary for the Christian brethren to forgive him? Grace brethren, be on guard, for Satan employs the oldest military strategy—“divide and conquer.”

When Paul wrote the epistle of First Corinthians, he addressed nearly a dozen issues that disrupted Christian fellowship and hindered spiritual growth in Corinth. The problem associated with today’s Scripture is described in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. A Christian brother in Corinth was having sexual relations with his father’s wife, an act that not even the pagan Gentiles committed! Unfortunately, the Corinthians were bragging of this sin, making light of it, and Paul’s solution was to temporarily cast out the man from fellowship, which would hopefully bring him to his senses, and cause him to change his lifestyle (verses 9-11).

Now, in today’s Scripture, a year or so has passed since the penning of First Corinthians. Evidently, the Corinthians had heeded Paul’s instructions by having nothing to do with the fornicator (2 Corinthians 2:6). Paul now writes to the Corinthians, “So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that you would confirm your love toward him” (verses 7,8). This brother had now straightened up, so the Corinthians were to forgive him, accept him, and show their love toward him, lest Satan would use bitterness and strife to further divide these Christians.

Saints, we must never be ignorant of Satan’s “devices,” tactics he uses to thwart the ministry of the local grace church (today’s Scripture). May we forgive, and not “give place to the devil” by holding grudges or being bitter (Ephesians 4:25-32). Satan is our enemy, not our grace brethren.

Vengeance Belongeth Unto the Lord #3

Wednesday, May 23, 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).

In the biblical words of a bygone preacher, “Payday, someday!”

Today’s Scripture and its context (verses 17-21) explain that whenever God’s righteousness is offended (sinned against), His justice enforces appropriate punishment (His wrath). Thus, we need not retaliate when people mistreat us. Those sins will either be dealt with at Christ’s cross (if these people trust Christ or have trusted Christ), or if they do not trust Christ, they will suffer for those deeds forever in the lake of fire.

According to 2 Thessalonians 1:4-9, the believers in Thessalonica endured persecutions and tribulations (sound familiar?). Notice the comfort the Apostle Paul gave them: “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;” (verses 6-9).

To “recompense” means, “to pay back in kind.” When Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming, He will pay back His (and thus, our) enemies. A literal fire will precede Him, and it will consume them. This is the wrath mentioned in today’s Scripture (cf. Matthew 3:7-12; Luke 3:16,17; Psalm 2:4,5).

But, notice that fire will then give way to “everlasting destruction” (this is when these people die, and go to hell and, ultimately, the lake of fire). The lake of fire is where God’s wrath against sin is eternally poured out on those who chose to reject Christ and remain dead in their sins (“them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”).

For sinners, “Payday someday.” Either at Christ’s cross… or the lake of fire….

Vengeance Belongeth Unto the Lord #2

Tuesday, May 22, 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).

Today’s Scripture explains that God Himself will ultimately take vengeance on those who harm us. Its context explains how it is our responsibility as Christians to let God’s grace teach us how to handle that mistreatment.

“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men” (verse 17). When people do us wrong, our flesh wants to retaliate, to get even, but God’s Word exhorts us to “recompense to no man evil for evil.” (Note: Please understand that God instituted government, and He encourages us to seek legal intervention in severe cases of wrongdoing [Romans 13:1-5]).

As Christians living in a fallen (corrupted) creation, we will suffer abuse and injustice. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (verse 18). Because of sin, unity and peace are not always possible. But, it is our responsibility to get along with others as best as we can (without compromising God’s Word, of course).

When someone does offend us, grace teaches us that God will ultimately exact vengeance on the guilty (today’s Scripture). “Therefore [consequently] if thine enemy hunger, feed him: if he thirst, give him drink: for in doing so thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (verses 20,21; cf. Proverbs 25:21,22; Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27,28).

We can let evil “overcome” (defeat) us (grudges, bitterness, et cetera), or we can defeat evil by doing good to those who have harmed us (especially if they are Christians; Galatians 6:10). “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). We need not repay evil for evil: by faith, we send that mistreatment to Christ’s cross, we forgive it, and we move on (lest it be a hindrance).

Beloved, we need not avenge ourselves, for “vengeance belongeth unto the Lord.”

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.”