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His Only Gift

The Gift Of His Judgment

CHAPTER FOUR

We have looked at the character of God in the subject of His righteousness. The gift of His judgment is also the character of God and it is also from His righteousness as we shall discover. The Scriptures share these elements of the character of God in Exodus 34:5-7. "And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation." It may be well to notice here, that this is the name of God. Have you considered that when you have prayed a prayer and closed it "In Jesus' name," you were actually closing the prayer with the attributes of God, including that transgression and sins are visited to the third and fourth generation?

This subject is often referred to as cause and effect. God has put His righteous laws in motion and He sustains them to give every man according as his works shall be. Jesus taught these principles in His ministry. "...Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you...." (Mark 4:24.) The apostle Paul also clearly expresses this truth. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Gal. 6:7.) God's judgments are the foundation of His character. This is inseparable from the knowledge of His love. It must be considered impossible to have a loving God if you have a God unrighteous in His judgments. If God is ever unfair or a respecter of persons, you would have unrighteousness.

We all expect to receive what we do when we do some good thing. If we make an apple pie and put it in the oven, after a time we expect to get an apple pie out of the oven. Is that not so? If we put earnest efforts into building a house we expect that a house would be built. This being true, there are multitudes who expect to do evil and not get the results of that. These expect to get away with their evil deeds. No one has ever received other than the effects of his creations and it is for good reason. By this we might get to know the Lord of the universe. He has said in His Word, "The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands." (Ps. 9:16.) There is nothing that can work faster in convincing us that someone is watching and sustaining law than to do something in secret and get our reward openly. The Lord says that this is how we may come to know Him. Whoever believes this truth and lives with the idea in mind that whatever he is doing will come back to him, will find his life fully rewarding.

After Their Way

"...I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the Lord." (Eze. 7:27.) Some might rebel at the thought that all that has happened to them in life was fair, but the Word of God plainly states that this is how it is created to work. In all this we can understand the love of God. Through all the trials of life we can be brought to understand and know that there is a God in heaven that rules. If things were allowed to "just happen," then how would this knowledge ever be attained? Even so, some things have a bitter taste when the results of our actions come home to us. It is also good to realize that this is not one-sided. When we sow righteousness, then that is what will grow in our garden of life. "The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil." (Pr. 19:23.) So this principle works both ways. We are all judged according to our ways. This is always true and we can always depend on the outcome of any happening as the perfect judgment of God for us. Men may make mistakes, but God never has made mistakes. "Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God." (Rom. 2:9-10.)

We have heard that the Old Testament scriptures are fables and stories written by superstitious people. But if one will take a moment to carefully study these accounts, as strange as some of them sound to certain folks today, one will see that they are all cause and effect stories. The trials of Israel in the desert were always associated with their murmurings or disbelief. We cannot find an example in Scripture where those who were full of faith failed or fell. While often martyrs and others are pointed out as examples of how bad things happen to the faithful, it is worthwhile looking at those who were untouched by adversity because of their faith, such as Daniel and his three friends. If one would only think it through he would have to ask himself, "Do God's laws only work sometimes?" "Is God a respecter of persons?" It is true that with men there is often inconsistency, but this is never the case with God. "I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." (Jer. 17:10.)

Do questions come to your mind? "What about Aunt Sue; she was a good person and something bad happened to her?" Before we handle questions like these isn't it best to discover, first of all, if God spoke the truth or not? Will one only believe if he can figure out all the problems in his mind? If one needs to figure it all out before he believes, he will remain an unbeliever. Will an ant ever come to understand the workings of the universe? So it is with man. There are many things we will never come to understand. But one thing we can do and that is, decide for ourselves whether or not God is telling the truth in His Word. Do you question, "I believe God tells the truth; I just don't think the Bible means what it says." If the Word of God doesn't mean what it says, then we are in quite a fix. If the Bible cannot be trusted always, then who is to say if it can be trusted at all? Without the Word of God we are left to be saved according to our ideas. It would be certain that all things would then be vanity. I do believe that the God who created the universe and put all things in perfect order can also protect His Word through the ages. As I read His Word I can see the wonderful order of cause and effect. I have found that God's Word is true in my life.

If the Bible does not mean what it says, then what does it mean? When the Lord tells us not to be fooled God isn't mocked; whatsoever a man sows he reaps; do you suppose we can change that plain statement to mean anything else? This is especially true when the statement begins, "Don't be fooled." We might notice it also says "whatsoever." Is God taking this to extremes or is He, rather, letting us understand exactly how it really is? Wouldn't you see this as a rather loving act, to warn us how life really works? Yes, He tries the reins, He reads the hearts and discovers what is generated there and then He gives us precisely what our works suggest. This is not only true for this earth, but also the Kingdom of glory to come. "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." (Rev. 22:12.) The fairness and justice of God should be a matter of rejoicing, but too often it is the subject of scorn. This truth only increases the love of God's children.

The Terrible Truth

"Terrible is this truth, and deeply should it be impressed. Every deed reacts upon the doer. Never a human being but may recognize, in the evils that curse his life, fruitage of his own sowing." (Ed. 146.) Initially, one may be inclined to accept the shear weight of testimony on the subject that, indeed, we do receive what we sow, but when this truth is brought into the details of life where we have thought ourselves misused and mistreated, we may balk. We all have had experiences in life where we felt someone did something to us and it was unfair. We look at our accidents and diseases and imagine they "just happened." We think things just happen because we cannot trace a clear cause and effect relationship in all circumstances. "When parents or rulers neglect the duty of punishing iniquity, God Himself will take the case in hand. His restraining power will be in a measure removed from the agencies of evil, so that a train of circumstances will arise which will punish sin with sin." (PP 728.)

Even though we cannot see the beginning and end of our circumstances, we can be sure they are not accidental. As with the apple pie they are created. In Mark, chapter 4, Jesus is using plant growth to describe how our circumstances are made. "So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come." We know not how these circumstances grow, but when the fruit is ripe it will all come to its fruition. So it is in all of life. We plant a seed somewhere in our pathway. We may not even know that is what we are planting. It may be an attitude or remark. It may be an idea or feeling that we nurture. It may be an overt act, but whatever it is, that is what we will reap by and by, whether good or bad. Even though this truth has terrible implications and, indeed, this world is full of the woe that we have made, nevertheless, there is something comforting about the knowledge that God can always be trusted and that all of our best efforts will not go unnoticed. Jesus said, "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." (Matt. 10:42.) Conversely, it could be said that even so slight an evil will not go without its reward.

God Can Be Trusted

It would be well for us to look again and decide whether or not God's word can be trusted. Indeed, can God be trusted? What advantage could there ever be for God to be inconsistent? With a word or a look He could change the face of the earth in an instant. It is a wonderful thing to behold His perfect integrity in His own creation. If you or I were at the beach forming a castle of sand we could at any time destroy it and start over with no feelings about it whatever. The Father in heaven is not fickle as we might be. All His works come from His own righteousness and nothing is done in vain. In like manner, God accepts every choice on our part seriously and nothing is taken lightly that we have chosen. His own character is at stake. If God would do a single unrighteous act or pronounce a single unrighteous judgement, the entire universe would immediately begin to destroy itself, for the whole system is supported by the perfect judgment of God.

You have heard that "accidents just happen." If that were so, then why is it that accidents don't happen? To clarify that statement we need only to look at the missionary stories of how miracles were seen that saved a missionary from accident, hunger or disaster. Does God only save missionaries? Other than those missionary stories, we also hear of some who acknowledged God saved them from something. When God didn't get around to saving some other soul from an equally devastating disaster, was it that the angel didn't get there in time, or was it rather that the creations of the individual involved insisted that he not be saved from this experience? Some cannot be saved from their creations or it would violate perfect law. It would also be seen that God would have to violate the person's own will to save them. This, God does not do. It would be well for us to understand that God is loving and kind. His loving kindness as a heavenly Father gives us perfection. As a little child we do not always reason from cause to effect, but if we could see all things we would be in agreement with God.

We Need Not Explain Everything

It is true we cannot explain every circumstance and always say why things have or have not happened, but we can say that God is fair and that His judgments are perfect in every way. Not because we can understand it all, but because this is how He said it was set up to work and if the created cannot take the word of the Creator, then we are truly in a meaningless situation. "Yet you are saying the Lord isn't fair. But I will judge each of you in accordance with his deeds." (Eze. 33:20 ML.) The only way in which this life would have any real purpose is in the fact that all of our choices and intentions are brought to a realization. We must be made to see what we do so that what we do can have a purpose. Spending time on this celestial ball for the purpose of wasting it is only a fantasy of the simple. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?" (Eze. 18:25.)

I would like to present you again with the proposition that we must first decide whether or not God spoke the truth in His Word before we get into the details and possibilities of cause and effect, or any discussion at all would be in vain. If one can accept the proposal that God is just and brings to us that which we have done, whether great or small, then we will be standing in a place that can see the justice in our own lives and God will receive our acknowledgment. "...Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints...." (Rev. 15:3.) The record states, "...As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." (Rom. 14:11.) If one's knees will ultimately bow to the fact that God is just and true and all of His ways are and were just and true, it would seem the best possible plan to accept that fact now, rather than later, when it would do us no real good.

Ancient Israel learned very slowly that their sufferings were in proportion to their unbelief. Whether or not they really learned that fact is debatable. Even so, all these historical accounts were given so that we might take a lesson from them. It is God's will that we live happy fulfilled lives full of joy, peace and appreciation. This is what we will have if we are yielded to the name of God. "If you will seek the Lord and be converted every day; if you will of your own spiritual choice be free and joyous in God; if with gladsome consent of heart to His gracious call you come wearing the yoke of Christ, "the yoke of obedience and service, "all your murmurings will be stilled, all your difficulties will be removed, all your perplexing problems that now confront you will be solved." (MB 101.) "Let me assure you that the struggles and conflicts which must be endured in the discharge of duty, the self-denials and sacrifices which must be made if we are faithful to Christ, are not created by Him. They are not imposed by arbitrary or unnecessary command; they do not come from the severity of the life which He requires us to lead in His service. ...The path in which He invites us to walk would never have cost us a pang had we always walked in it. It is when we stray from the path of duty that the way becomes difficult and thorny. The sacrifices which we must make in following Christ are only so many steps to return to the path of light, of peace and happiness." (4T. 558.)

Yielding Is The Secret

I think most people would like to have light and peace and happiness. At least this is what they will say when you ask them. There is only one way for this to occur and that is to yield to the gift of the Son of God. In so doing, we yield to His righteousness and, by this, we yield to the perfect justice of God. The fruit of that yielding is the quality of life mentioned. I have spoken with many individuals over the years and they spoke of their fears of yielding. They believed that by yielding God would let some bad thing happen to them or He might ask them to give up something. It is true, something terrible does happen. The "old man" dies. Of course that is only terrible to the old man. It is true, God does ask you to give up much all the things that would cause you to suffer destruction. He asks of us all our other gods, including our lying, cheating and hatred. He asks of us our selfishness and trades with us His righteousness. We receive His light and peace and happiness. We receive security, provision and joy. Is that so bad?

He Will Not Hurt You

Some believe God wants to hurt them. This is so foolish. If God had any thought of hurting us He would just hurt us. What would stop Him? Do you think your meager efforts would stop God from hurting you? On the contrary, in spite of yourself and your efforts to hurt you, God has done and is doing everything He can to bless you and bring you joy. God allows your suffering to come when you insist on it. By this He designs that you will give up the suffering you enjoy so much. One may resist the notion that he enjoys suffering, but this is the conclusion one may draw from the fact that men love those things that bring it. In looking at my own life I have seen much of this suffering. Much of my life has been in deep pain. I discovered, by releasing myself to God, the pain was healed. I have found no greater protector than our loving heavenly Father. I have nothing more to fear. I want not anything.

One of the great blessings for us and the great gifts of God is the knowledge that God is fair with us and that His judgments are righteous judgments. This not only will give us peace about the past, but it will give us close attention to our choices in the future. We can know we can trust Him to bring to pass those desires He has placed in our hearts. We can know that God does not tantalize us with impossible notions. I invite the reader to accept this statement of God. The statement we should accept is that we reap what we sow. We should accept that those circumstances of life that come to us are God's perfect judgments. When we do this we can know that we trust Him.


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