Thursday, June 15, 2017

"The Standard"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"The Standard"     
   Our memory verse for the week spotlights the fundamental spiritual and moral difference between God and ourselves, thus revealing our need for the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

   "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Romans 5:10).

 The perfection of God's unselfish character means that He loves not only those who love Him, but also those who do not.  This includes those whose sins made necessary the nailing of His beloved Son to a cross.  Prophetically, the Lord Jesus Christ even referred to those who slew Him in terms of friendship: "And One shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands?  Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends" (Zechariah 13:6).  This quality of Divine love transcends our highest contemplation and deepest imagining of goodness, particularly because we know ourselves to be so incapable of such sublime character and self sacrifice.  

   However, God calls us and requires us to be like Him in order to find His acceptance and favor.  

   "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?  Do not even the publicans the same?  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?  Do not even the publicans so?  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:43-48).

   Few passages of Scripture more cast us to our knees and faces in futility.  The Divine perfection our Lord references, and to which He calls us, involves loving enemies.  We are in trouble if we cannot find this quality in our own character, and our own ways.  Thus, our need for grace and mercy presents itself to us in stark clarity.  If we do not love our enemies, we disobey God and thus become His enemy.  Or, in terms of our present and sublime consideration, we become those He loves, and for whom He gave His Son to die.   The spiritual and moral Standard slew us.  The Standard also slew Him, for our sakes, and made it possible for Him to be our Savior.  Thereby we are "accepted in the Beloved" if we trust in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).  Moreover, the Savior indwells us by His Spirit when we believe, thus beginning the process of conforming us to His own image whereby we become able to love as He loves, including loving our enemies.  Our own character, hopelessly short of the Standard?  Or the grace and mercy of Christ, who fulfilled the Standard for us, and fulfills the Standard in us?  These are the only two options whereby we can attempt to approach the God whose perfection of goodness leads Him to love both friend and foe.

"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
(Romans 5:5-8)

Weekly Memory Verse 
   For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
(Romans 5:10)

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