Do not presume upon the Lord

Monday Musings for February 28, 2022

Good morning, Musers,

I sometimes use the sarcastic term, “No good deed will go unpunished!” But at this point in my life, I am not being sarcastic primarily. I am instructing… and although there is a biblical and experiential relationship between doing good things and your personal prosperity, life doesn’t always work this way... not like the prosperity preachers would have you believe anyway. In fact, life often works just the opposite... hence the sarcastic utterance.

But here’s the thing: Christians are people too — and we should be allowed to vent! But I recommend that we only do it among people who know us well... people who wouldn’t publish the anecdote on the internet. God, who is rock steady, understands the weaknesses that make us wobbly — and he puts up with a lot! But sometimes he doesn’t... and the world stands still.

Think of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). They lied. They made one little mistake. But apparently, it was not so little to God. The “official” offense was lying to the Holy Spirit... but how many times have I done that and not been struck down dead? Too many to count! But I was not spared because I was special. I was spared because God did not choose me to be an example in Scripture. That being said, nothing we do is secret... and our sins will find us out.

The Bible is clear that God hates pride... arrogant pride mostly. But when is pride arrogant? I ask because I see pride as a scale... and one side of that scale is good. For example, we should take pride in a job well done. Hey — that feeling is itself a reward! But let’s run the scale the other way. When is pride sinful? When it is presumptuous. This will require some fine-tuning.

One of the huge differences between the old covenant and the new covenant is the access we have to God. We can run right up to him... so to speak. But that was not the case for our spiritual forebears who needed priests to “officially” access God — and even then, they were doing it sacerdotally, not personally. This “personally” business defines the new covenant. We must each come to God with our sins and avail ourselves of his salvation personally.

Those of us who have done this are new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). We no longer need the priesthood. Jesus is our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) — and we are now God’s children (John 1:12). This is a big deal. But it can get us in trouble too. Just like children in an earthly family, there is a balance between being comfortable with our parents and respecting them. Sometimes pride comes in and we get all puffed up thinking we can do better than them. That sets us up for a humility lesson. And if one comes, pray it’s not leprosy.

Now, God is indeed our Father. But he is categorically holy while we are positionally holy. Now, we are “holy enough” to live with God forever. It’s just that the way God is holy is different from the way we are holy. So, we can sit on God’s lap... but we should take off our sandals too. God will never be anything other than holy… and we should always be aware.


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