Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Tough Love of God

The love of God is unfathomable. The bible gives us a picture of God. In the Old Testament, God appears to be a God of wrath, but in Truth, God is only being Just. If God is to be true to Himself, His Justice must reign beside His Mercy. A good parent disciplines their children. So, too, God the Father disciplines us when we have done wrong. The Love of God for us is tough love that combines justice and mercy.

The readings this week tell us of the Love and Justice of God. We shall be judged for what we do. But justice cannot forsake mercy because just as mercy without justice is anarchy, justice without mercy is tyranny. The readings also reveal Jesus' Mercy as Light of the World.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God. ~ John 3:16-21

Often, you will see people wearing t-shirts that have the John 3:16 scripture reading. The Father's only Son, who comes into the world, IS the Light of the World. I love the image of light. It reminds me of the song

I Want to Walk As a Child of the Light

In Him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The Lamb is the Light of the city of God
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus

I want to walk as a child of the Light
I want to follow Jesus
God set the stars to give light to the world
The star of my life is Jesus

I want to see the brightness of God
I want to look at Jesus
Clear sun of righteousness shine on my path,
And show me the way to the Father.

I'm looking for the coming of Christ.
I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race,
We shall know the joy of Jesus.

As the song says, it is His righteousness that shines like the sun on our path. Our evil deeds are exposed by Him Who is Light. But also, Jesus, by returning to the Father, has given us the Spirit, Who is our guide, our Counselor. This same Spirit, He says, will convince or convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. 
I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. ~ John 16:7-11
But what does this mean . . . that the Holy spirit will convince (convict) the world concerning these things? Disbelief in Jesus causes us to live in a very real darkness. So, first of all, the Holy Spirit leads us to a true belief in Jesus, the Son of Righteousness, who is Himself righteous because His Father is righteous. They share the same substance - the same essence. But secondly, Jesus came not for the righteous; the Word became flesh for sinners - to MAKE them righteous. And because He was faithful to the Father, Jesus returned to the Father. So He gave us the Spirit to show us the way of righteousness that takes us to Himself and to the Father. Thirdly, the Holy Spirit also convicts us when we do what is evil. The Light of Christ shines through the Holy Spirit on evil deeds and exposes them for what they are. They are of the earth and the wrath of God rests on on them. 
He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth belongs to the earth, and of the earth he speaks; he who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony; he who receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit; the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.~ John 3:31-36 
So let us believe and because we believe, let us do what is good so that the Light of Christ shall rest upon us through His Spirit and we may be made righteous. Then Jesus will be the Light in our darkness, revealing to us what is of this world and what is of God. 

by Cliff Richard

Lord the Light or Your Love is shining,
In the midst of the darkness shining,
Jesus light of the world shine upon us,
Set us free by the truth You now bring us,
Shine on me. Shine on me.

Shine Jesus shine
Fill this land with the Father's glory
Blaze, Spirit blaze,
Set our hearts on fire
Flow, river flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth Your word
Lord and let there be light.

Lord I come to Your awesome presence,
From the shadows into Your radiance,
By the blood I may enter Your brightness,
Search me, try me, consume all my darkness,
Shine on me. Shine on me.

As we gaze on Your kindly brightness.
So our faces display Your likeness.
Ever changing from glory to glory,
Mirrored here may our lives tell Your story.
Shine on me. Shine on me.

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