MERCY FOLLOWS JUDGEMENT
James 2:12-13 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
I have to tell you, I used to be a scoundrel. Actually, I guess I have a tendency to still be one, but I thank Jesus every day for His mercy.
It saved me, you know? Christ’s mercy. The Apostle Paul claimed to be the chief of all sinners. I’d give him a good run for his money.
I was a beer drinking, carousing, gutter-mouthed church-goer. Until Jesus came into my life. He changed me. I can’t explain it, but something deep inside of me changed the night I fell on my face and repented of my sins.
I jokingly tell folks that the Holy Spirit did for me what a phone booth did for Clark Kent; changed me into a brand-new creature. I have been in over-drive for the Lord ever since. Why?
He who is forgiven much loves much. “…but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”
I have been forgiven much, therefore I love much. Whom do I love? The One who forgave me. I owe Him my life. I am a slave to His will. I am His ambassador here on earth.
And just what does an ambassador do? He represents the king in a foreign country. If you are truly born again you are His representative here on earth. Like it or not, we are to speak for Jesus to those in this earthly realm.
What did Jesus tell us about that job? “You shall be hated of all men for My Name’s sake” How can it be that love can make us so hated? People hate the truth because truth hurts, that's why. But, truth can heal those that love the truth. God, who is love, promised us that if we followed Him we would be hated. Love brings hatred. Remember, you are an ambassador, His representative. God is love, Jesus is the Truth. To speak the Truth is the greatest example of love. Truth is God revealed.
So why does the world view love as hate? Jesus warned us. Truth looks like hate to those who hate the Truth. Jesus told us that His purpose in coming was to “bear witness unto the Truth.” His ambassadors should do no less.
“What is truth?” Pilate asked 2000 years ago. Funny, isn’t it? That same question is still being asked today. Unfortunately, most of us who claim to “know the Truth” are either unable or unwilling to contend for it today. Scripture exhorts us to “Earnestly contend for the Faith.” Contend means to “struggle in opposition.” We are to fight sin, not love it. Fighting sin will bring you hatred. Are you a contender?
I have had a terrible week. Is it okay to say that? I have been bombarded by the local print media for contending for the faith. Is it ironic that the one’s who are clamoring the loudest against “hate” are those who know the least about Truth. They demand that we not engage in “hate speech” because Christians should be “loving.” It is amazing how they try and dictate to those of us who know the Truth how we should best represent Him. The world wants to set the rules for my ambassadorship. We should “love” the homosexual. We should “love” the abortionist. We should “love” those who teach filth to our children.
“Hate the sin, love the sinner, Coach.” Oh, I do. But should I love the sinner MORE than I hate the sin? Did God love sin? He sent His Son to destroy it. Did God hate sin more than He loved His Son?
Ooooh. Heavy stuff, isn’t it? Does it make you a little nervous?
Have I lost you? Are you still with me?
Here is where I think the modern evangellyfish church is missing it. We want mercy before judgment.
Have you ever been to court? Have you ever had to stand before a judge and give an account for your actions? It is a sobering experience to realize your future rests in the hands of another. Everyone who finds himself/herself before the judge is hoping for mercy, that somehow the judge will be lenient in the sentence he hands down.
We’re all going to stand before the Ultimate Judge. Each one of us will be accountable for what we have done in this life. I promise you, on that day, many will be begging for mercy.
But let’s return to the earthly courtroom for a minute. Have any of you ever been present in a trial where the judge commuted the sentence before the sentence had been rendered? In other words, is it possible for a judge to suspend a sentence before a sentence has been handed down? If there is no guilt, is mercy required?
Of course not! In a court of law, a judge renders a verdict in regards to guilt and innocence. If the defendant is innocent, he is free to go. If he is “judged” guilty, sentencing must follow. Mercy demands a guilty verdict. Otherwise, what is the purpose of mercy? Mercy from what, then?
Seeker-sensitive Christianity is putting the cart before the horse. That is why so many are “saved,” but so few are changed. Easy-believism teaches Jesus has granted un-merited forgiveness. Forgiveness for what? How can you appreciate mercy in the absence of guilt? No wonder many claim forgiveness, yet so few love Truth.
Remember, he who is forgiven little, loves little. Mercy follows judgment.
“Yes, Coach, but who are you to judge?” I knew you were going to ask that!
Look, we are required to forgive those who have wronged us. If someone comes up and smacks me in the mouth, I am required to forgive him. But if that same dude goes up and smacks my neighbor in the mouth, what good does it do if I forgive him? I am not the one who was wronged, my neighbor was hit. Only he can offer forgiveness for the wrong he suffered. In fact, my neighbor may smack ME for offering forgiveness I had no right to offer.
It is the same with sin. Today’s seeker-sensitive doctrine wants to constantly be offering forgiveness for sin. But here is where they miss the point: they were not the one wronged. Jesus was. Only the offended can offer forgiveness. I cannot forgive an offense against Christ. Only Jesus can do that.
So what is the result? We have a bunch of folks in the Church who have received mercy from those who have no right to offer it. Jesus died for sin. Jesus was the one offended. Jesus is the One who offers mercy.
But not until a verdict has been rendered. Remember, mercy follows judgment. What does God say about judgment? Unbelievers are already condemned. Stop telling them they are forgiven. Mercy is the Lord’s business. He is the offended party.
So what is our job? Our job is to expose their sickness. Would you seek a cure before you knew you were sick? The world is sin-sick. The Bible provides the diagnosis. "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."
God hates sin. That is the Truth. If we love people, we will tell them the truth.
A friend of mine shared that Truth with me years ago. He showed me my sin, my soul-wickedness. I didn’t accuse him of hate, I didn’t admonish him for being judgmental. I beat a path to the altar. My friend loved the Lord enough to tell me the Truth. Today, most of us are loving our friends silently into hell.
Paul asked, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Want to make love look like hate? Tell them the Truth. Freedom is theirs for the asking.
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Coach Dave Daubenmire, founder and President of Pass The Salt Ministries www.ptsalt.com and Minutemen United www.minutemenunited.org, is host of the high octane Pass The Salt radio show heard in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1999 Coach Daubenmire was sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams while coaching high school in Ohio. He now spends his energy fighting for Christian principles in the public domain.
have had a terrible week. Is it okay to say that? I have been bombarded
by the local print media for contending for the faith. Is it ironic that
the one’s who are clamoring the loudest against “hate” are those who know
the least about Truth.