Keeping an open mind to God’s word while we’re engaged in well-meaning doctrinal review is crucial for believers. Although scrutiny can catalyse differences, it doesn’t make it unnecessary. Differences can be healthy by showing us complementarity or safety lines.
Having said the above, in this exercise to ascertain God’s ultimate heart desire for humanity, let’s depend on the Holy Spirit to enlighten us through the scriptures.
What’s God’s ultimate heart desire for humanity?
The answer—is revealed in God’s two-fold purpose for breathing Life (Christ or Light) into Adam and Eve. The two pronged intent is: For humanity to have freedom to worship (talk and walk) with Him as His image bearer and from that vantage, till the ground as its caretaker (Micah 6:8, Ecclesiastes 12:13, Genesis 2:15).
Although Adam and Eve eventually lost God’s image through their disobedient choice (Genesis 3:6) and plunged humankind into darkness, God’s heart desire for humanity to worship Him didn’t change. In due time, His only Son (The Lamb sacrificed from the beginning) was sent as the Light—to light up humanity who lived in darkness and in the shadow of death (Luke 1:79).
However, because it was by choice humankind rejected God’s life freely breathed into our first parent (Adam and Eve), it’s also by choice that we’ll have to receive God’s free gift of life being offered to us in His Son.
But, given humanity’s gross depravity, are we able to choose life? Yes!
That’s what Christ’s atonement did — it tore the veil —making it possible for humankind to turn to the Light through the preaching of the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:19, Matthew 27:51, Romans 3:25, 1 Corinthians 1:21). Therefore, it’s proclaimed, ‘whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life’ (John 3:15).
God’s active desire ab initio was and still is salvation (His life to dwell in humankind Genesis 1:26, 1 John 4:14-15, Romans 10:13). It’s contrary to Calvinist predestination doctrine which portrays God as a trickster — engaged in offering a larger segment of humanity His Light — while He had predetermined by His sovereignty for them never to accept the Light. This blind spot is part of the fundamental error governing Calvinism. The scriptures to show how God have negated the rest of His attributes and used just one — “sovereignty” to act against every other thing He represents is yet to be provided.
True sovereignty of God works within the framework of His other characteristics like love, justice, patience etc. His sovereignty in perfect harmony with the rest of His attributes is displayed in His willingness to save humanity despite we were fallen. Herein, we’re shown godly sovereignty that’s not divorced from who He is. Because God’s sovereignty operates within His attribute of justice, He made the provision of His Lamb from the foundation of the world knowing He’ll never work against His own attributes. So, God’s Lamb is pivotal and inevitable since the Adamic sin that affected all of humanity had to be paid for.
Ironically, John Calvin’s discriminatory interpretation of predestination doesn’t resemble his namesake’s (John, the apostle) inspired scriptures in John chapter 1. Here’s what it says, ‘the Word or Logos was in the beginning with God as God and He created humans and the Word is the light of or for humanity (John 1:1-3, John 1:4). Notice, the Light is not for some predestined people.
‘The mission of the true Light, is to give light to everyone’ (John 1:9). The essence of John the Baptist’s ministry further solidified this truth: “God sent him as a witness to testify concerning the Light, so that through him all (not some) might believe in the Light” (John 1:6-9).
As John the Baptist made good of the ministry of being a witness to the Light, oppositions and distraction arose from the people who wanted to know who he was and his mission. But, he kept his focus on God’s heart desire and stated it repeatedly in an uncomplicated manner: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (humanity)” (John 1:29).For all intent and purposes, this clearly speaks of Christ’s general atonement for humanity and not limited atonement for specially predestined people(1 John 2:2, Isaiah 53:6).
Let all who want to praise the glory of God’s grace reflect again and again about His sovereignty alongside all of His other attributes. As we do, hopefully, we’ll eventually acknowledge that there’s no way God’s other characteristics would’ve been dormant for sovereignty to act independently. God is self-sufficient in wisdom and counsels Himself wisely! (Isaiah 40:13).
The Scope of the Light’s Mission
The Light’s mission was to all of humankind and not to any special people (Neither the Israelites nor a certain predestined multitude). Even the Israelites as part of humanity and by genealogy Jesus’s own people also refused to recognise and acknowledge the Light (Him) (John 1:10-11). But, because the Light (The Word) came as a fresh start for humanity, as many as received Him, those who believed in His name He gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of parental decision but born of God (John 1:12-13, 1 Peter 1:23).
Evidently, God laced the apostolic ministry of John with His heart’s desire for humanity in a way that explained predestination. Pursuant to God’s desire to save all of humanity, John both faithfully and plainly proclaimed the remarkable action God took, ‘Out of His fullness, grace upon grace has been poured out to humanity’ (John 1:16, 4: 42, Titus 2:11, 1 Timothy 4:10). Unlike God’s “law of commandments” given to the Israelites by Moses as their culture, grace and truth (Christ Jesus or the Gospel) is given to humankind as a culture of Light or Redemption (John 1:17).
In Ephesians chapter 1, Paul stated repeatedly that God predestined humankind to redemption. To be holy and blameless through believing the gospel—God’s good pleasure for humankind. A pleasure He determined for humans in Christ from creation. This gospel (The Light—God’s Son) came to reveal His Father to all of humanity. Why? Because no one has ever seen or can see the Father except by seeing His Son (John 1:18).
How can the general atonement of Jesus Christ be entered into?
John stated the answer, “Make straight the way for the Lord” — meaning, believe in the Lord or repent — not from all of our sins but from the sin of rejecting the Light (John 1:23, Mark 1:15, Acts 3:19). Why do we refuse to come to the Light or His atonement? It’s because our hearts and deeds are evil and the devil uses it to blind us (John 3:19, 2 Corinthians 4:4). It has nothing to do with us not being predestined.
How do humanity that love darkness come to the Light? Jesus’s sapid explanation showed both His Father’s role and humankind’s. ‘… God takes the initiative to teach all to come to Christ, and everyone who hears, learn or agree with God accepts Christ (John 6:45). So, verse 45 of John 6 clarifies (John 6:44), ‘before anyone can come to me, they must first listen and agree with my Father’s persuasion’. Those who agree to come to me are those taught or persuaded by God and great will be their peace as spoken by the prophets and I will raise them up at the last day (Isaiah 54:13).
Whilst it’s the church that’s chiefly used by God to persuade humankind, He also directly persuades humans — including babies in their mother’s womb. Patiently, God endures with humanity so all can heed His persuasion! (2 Peter 3:9, 15). God is not devilish to be busy drawing (persuading) people He had predetermined never to accept His persuasion.
It’s clearly stated, ‘God sent the Light to humankind not to condemn us but to give us Light’ (John 3:17). This offer is to everyone everywhere (Mark 16:15). Why? Because He loves humankind (John 3:16). His desire (Predestination) is for everyone to enter into the Light of eternal life in His Son. It’s not a reserved privilege for a few elect, no! Those — few (Multitudes) who respond to God’s persuasion to go to Christ just as Jesus had to agree with God’s predestination to go the cross will be chosen or elected to abide in Christ as a new creation (Matthew 22:14, Luke 22:42, 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Encouraging reason why every human should come to the Light or Christ’ Atonement
While it’s true that when we come to the Light the darkness in our hearts and evil deeds will be exposed to us, we need not be shamed or afraid because Christ made the atonement on the cross on our behalf and resurrected to give humankind life abundantly (John 10:10). If we accept His atonement, its effect doesn’t leave us with our sin, sins and shame (1 John 2:2). He translates us to light and helps us walk in the light (Matthew 5:14, John 8:12, 14:26, Isaiah 30:21, Psalm 32:8, Romans 8:14).
Consequently, the only reason any human will be lost perpetually is the rejection of the Lamb of God and not because they were predestined to damnation (John 3:18, Mark 16:16). It accounts for why the Prophets of old prophesied that Christ is the Messiah and the Apostles vehemently insisted that redemption is found in no one else but Christ Jesus, the light of humankind (Acts 4:12).
The True Gospel
The gospel does not become good news because He’s received. In and of Himself, He’s good news to humanity. That’s why He’s not limited to any socio-political cum religious and ideological enclave. Irrespective of the religion and culture we’re born into, God is daily drawing everyone to Christ, the Light of Humankind.
Through the Church (All those who’ve accepted God’s persuasion to believe in Christ and follow Him), the gospel is being displayed and preached to all humans that God, our Creator, has the welfare of each one of us at heart, to this end: that we should be saved in Christ (Mark 16: 15). This is the theme of the book of Acts. It isn’t a narrative of God conscripting some predestined folks.
God has never been in the business of forcing humanity to worship Him else, the rich young ruler and King Agrippa would’ve been conscripted. They freely and unwisely rejected God’s persuasion (Mark 10: 17-22, Acts 26:27-29).
Jesus himself, John, the apostle and John the Baptist including the other apostles and prophets pointed to this conclusion: everyone is invited to Christ Jesus, why? Because God doesn’t desire for anyone to go to hell (The unavoidable place for those who reject Christ’s atonement).
No human was predestined to go to hell to satisfy God’s cosmic pleasure. Far from it! (Ezekiel 18:23).
If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. But all things are of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17,18 ASV)
The all-inclusive rule of the new creation is that “all things are of (out from) God.” Concerning this fact the Apostle Paul uses the word “but” – “But all things are of God” – as though he would anticipate, intercept, or arrest an impulse to rush away and attempt life or service upon an old creation basis, or with old creation resource. The great question then is: What does it mean that all things in this new creation are out from God? What kind of a life will such a life be? To answer that question adequately would be a very comprehensive task and the most revolutionary thing conceivable.
To begin with, we should have to be settled regarding the difference between the old and the new creations, and then as to how far-reaching that difference is. In addition, we should need to see that God has put these two creations asunder, utterly and forever, and however gracious and forbearing He may be with us in our ignorance and slowness of apprehension, He never accepts the overlapping or intertwining of the two. Then there would be the further need of an inward, intelligent judgment and power by which we are made aware of the Divine veto upon the one and energy toward the other….
It is not what is done for God that will last, but what is done by God. The measure of spiritual value is determined by the measure in which God promotes it, not the measure of human activities according to human judgments and energies in the name of God.
The bible’s profound declaration is, “God is Love”. Everything God does emanates from Love. Though Adam and Eve’s sin caused us the human race to step out of living, moving and having our essence in God or Love, Love was active to save mankind 1 John 1:29.
It’s only as we receive or know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that we return to living, moving and having our being in Love or God Ephesians 3:19, 1 John 4:16.
Although Love is latent, He produces actions. Love propelled the plan of redemption because He loved (Wanted Himself) in us. He is not seeking for us to fill-up His lack because He alone is self-sufficient. He is pure and loves mankind sincerely as His children by creation. He is inviting all mankind to return to Him through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Lamb. Why? Because He loves us John 3:16.
All who accept His invitation (Christ Jesus) are blessed with “eternal life or Love” which has overthrown the “spirit of this age” and are no longer of the world though in the world John 17:14. As a result, while journeying through this world, Love is working in and with Christ’s disciples to possess their being, live and move in Love. The life of Love is curing and protecting those in Christ from the diseases of pride of life, lust of the eyes and lust of the flesh.
God’s love has been shed in the hearts of all His people (the body of Christ or the Church) because it’s only through Christ’s love that we come into the fullness of God — into heaven’s love, peace and wisdom different from that of the world Romans 5:5, John 14:27, James 3:17.
Having been born-again of the Spirit, the community of God’s people are called not to mimic actions of love but to live the life of love (Christ’s divine nature) through God’s great and precious promises 2 Peter 1:4. What are the “great and precious promises”? “I will live my life in my people AND walk amongst them 2 Corinthians 6:16, Matthew 18:20. Those in religion mimicking actions of love end up loving some people and hating others. But those led by the Spirit to living the life of love hates no one. This is the awesomeness of God’s grace at work in those who have relationship with Christ.
God’s life of love is lived through us only as we let Him guide us to understand Love. Whilst it’s possible for all humans to mimic actions of love, wisdom and have worldly peace, only those whom Love dwells in and with can live the life of peace, wisdom and love which is the fruit of the Spirit (Actions motivated by Love) Galatians 5:22. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes had the doctrine of Love, acted lovingly towards some people but never lived the life of love Matthew 23:1-2 3, 4 and 5. Even Hitler had people he acted lovingly towards. Anything short of God living through us can mean anything but the life of love.
The bible never refers to action(s) as love rather, it’s the Spirit behind the action(s) which accord to God’s word that is referred to as Love. Paul the Apostle clarified this delicate divide when he said, ‘giving away all of our possession and submitting to die in the place of another person can be done yet not in or by Love’ 1 Corinthians 13: 3, 1-2. This is why Paul distinctly referred to the work of the Thessalonian church as “labour of love” 1 Thessalonians 1:3. Not all labour or action is of or done by love.
Many of Jesus’s labours or actions don’t pass our human estimation of what love and politeness is because He lived the life of love led by the Spirit to please His Father first and foremost. Maybe you’re thinking, this is precarious. Yes, it is! However, Romans 8:14 and 1 Corinthians 2:15 explains it well. It’s the true life of love.
As said earlier, although Love is latent, the Spirit makes Love or God manifest in actions. For this reason, Peter exhorted the Church thus, ‘Above all, let Love grow earnestly or deeply in you —towards everyone because Love covers or forgives a multitude of sins’ 1 John 3:23. Notice Peter’s exhortation syncs with the second greatest command of God to His people both in the Old and New Testament Matthew 22:39. The command to love others or one another deeply is given only to those who have God or Christ since no one can love another in the sense God desires without Him or Christ. So, the fulfilment of this command is predicated on the first command to love (Have) God with all of our being (spirit, soul and body) Matthew 22:38, 1 John 4:19, 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
How can we truly love one another earnestly?
When we let Love or Christ fill our soul and motivate us, our love for one another deepens. Then, our “thinking” (covert) and “actions” (overt) towards everyone and especially “people of the household of faith” becomes as Christ (As He is so are we in this world) Galatians 6:10, Matthew 10:42.
It’s important to reiterate that action(s) is/are not what is referred to as love rather, it’s the Person that motivates our action(s). Hence, the life of love is a lifestyle of loving our brothers and forgiving 1 John 4:20-21,Matthew 7:12.
How does Love forgive or cover a multitude of sins?
James the Apostle explained it when he said, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back,let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins”. If we’re motivated by Love to reach out to those who don’t have Christ or derailing brothers, love will save them from death by forgiving (covering) their sins. The action of reaching out is not the love. The reaching out can be of self and not love. This is why verse 1 of Galatians 6 said, “you who are spiritual” meaning, you are motivated by love — let meekness govern your reaching out as exhibited in Paul’s speech, “for love’s sake” Philemon 1:8-9.
Christ needs to grow deeply in us because none of us by ourselves can love and forgive sins in the sense God desires without Love being deeply rooted in us. It’s Love that covers or forgives (not overlooks) a multitude of sins. Only Love can forgive sins.
To forgive others so that we can be forgiven is not exactly God’s ideal of forgiveness. This type of forgiveness is self-motivated, cheap, ineffective, full of guile, null and void. Oh! Don’t worry I forgive, I forgive you! Really?! Where is the healing and reconciliation!? Forgiving is something only God can do through us and it has immediate healing and a reconciling effect both on the person forgiveness is flowing out from and the recipient of the forgiveness Matthew 6:15.
The Church (People of grace or power) are admonished, “confess your sins (faults) one to another… ” So that forgiveness, healing and reconciliation flow freely through us for one another to the praise of God James 5:16, 1 John 5:17.
The uniqueness of the church’s purpose and mission is pivoted on and driven by Love. So, we know, the start and end of our Christian life is Love. Every temptation we Christians face is a temptation to step out of love. Therefore, Jesus’ strongest admonition to His sheep is, “abide in me and I in you”. Outside of Love all of our good deeds can be anything but far from love.
God’s heart towards mankind is love (Christ). Those who reject the life of love sentence themselves to the wrath of the second death because, the day of judgement is a day of the revelation of perfected love 1 John 4:17, Romans 8:19. The Church’s purpose is to live the life of love with His many sided wisdom in pursuing her mission of pointing the world to Christ.
Living the life of Love is beautiful with implications summarized thus: Christ by the Holy Spirit will live through us to please His Father just as He did during His earthly ministry and not to please everyone and be loved by everyone. The whole essence of living the life of love is for God’s glory which enhances our well-being now and forever.
This meditation is taken from “The Hyssop that Springeth Out of the Wall” by George H Warnock
We can understand how a man gifted with wisdom would write about great and lofty things; but God would show us that men of wisdom are concerned also about little things. It reminds us of Paul’s admonition: “Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate,” (Romans 12:16).
Much reference is made in Scripture to both the Cedar and the Hyssop; but whereas the Cedar speaks of stature and honour and glory, the Hyssop always relates to sacrifice… and therefore to humility, weakness and contrition of heart. Other than this I knew nothing about the plant itself. But after having been impressed to minister on the “hyssop” relative to its weakness and sacrificial character, I felt to put it in writing; and I have since looked up a number of reference books concerning it.
I found it grows in dry places, out in the full sun. It is particularly suited to a rockery, and this may be inferred in the statement that it “springeth out of the wall”–perhaps a terraced rock wall. It is low-growing, up to about 2 feet. It is native to Egypt. It has strong wiry stems, with bunches of flowers and leaves. Produces small bluish-purple flowers, and has a sweet fragrance. It is a bitter herb, belonging to the mint family, and was once used for medicinal purposes. It seemed to grow plentifully in Egypt, for on the Passover night it was readily obtainable to every Israelitish family, who would use it for the sprinkling of the blood. It was used for various sacrificial purposes in the Levitical order, and therefore must have grown extensively in the wilderness also. It is always associated with “sacrifice”… so that even at Calvary, when the supreme Sacrifice was being offered, mention is again made of the lowly “hyssop.”
Solomon, a great and Wise man, was impressed to write about the weak, insignificant “hyssop.” Great men are always small enough to take note of little things.
They are concerned about the weak. Jesus stood still at the cry of a blind beggar. True greatness reveals itself in areas of meekness, mercy, compassion and forgiveness.
The world considers a meek man to be a weak man. But God considers the meek to be strong. They shall inherit the earth; because in their meekness and weakness, their confidence is not in themselves but in Another.
The weak must assume an attitude of defensiveness; but the strong are prepared to let the Truth defend itself. So when the weak assume positions of power and authority, as is often the case, they must use that power and authority to bolster their own inadequacy. The meek are strong, because they are prepared to commit their cause into the hands of God who judgeth righteously.
As I ministered about the hyssop I could not help but think of our own little fellowship. It seems so fragile. What is it that keeps us gathering together week after week? Just a handful of us… but we will travel 30, 50, 70 or a 100 miles a week just to gather with a handful of people in someone’s home. But when you come to know God’s ways a little, what does it matter whether there be 20 or 30 people, or 1,000? God can use 20 as well as 2,000… 1 as well as 10,000. It doesn’t really matter, as long as we are faithful; and as long as God is directing us in this way. But how strange this may sound to those who have not known God’s ways?
How long will we continue to gather in this manner? We certainly do not know; for we have no plans to fulfill of our own. And we are reminded that the precious “hyssop” having served its purpose was thrown away! Precious as it is in the eyes of the Lord, it was made for sacrifice.
And every sacrifice that delights the heart of God requires it. God has therefore put it within the reach of all. It grows there at our feet, lightly esteemed by most… but prepared of the Lord for sacrifice… a certain kind of sacrifice: the sacrifice of a broken spirit and a contrite heart. It is not something beyond our reach.
The elders of Israel had no problem finding it… apparently it was right outside their doors, and when the blood had to be sprinkled on the doorposts, the hyssop was readily obtained. When the last Passover Lamb was offered, hyssop was there too, and readily obtainable. When Jesus cried “I thirst,” a soldier bunched some hyssop together and lifted it to Jesus’ mouth with a sponge full of sour wine. He must use hyssop to fulfill the Scriptures, and God had provided it even on Mount Calvary! Then it was discarded… it had served its purpose.
But what waste? And to what purpose is this waste?
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24, 25).
As Philip, the evangelist preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ in Samaria, a magician named Simon believed the gospel and was baptised along with others who also believed. Then, Simon continued with Philip in the gospel work.
When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard of the new believers’ community (church) in Samaria, they sent Peter and John out to serve the church. They arrived and God used them to bless the brothers and sisters to receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of their hands. Though Simon was present, he didn’t receive this blessing — he was more interested in buying the power that he too might lay his hands on others to receive the Holy Spirit Acts 8:4-19. Was Simon a believer and part of the assembly? Yes!
But, Peter’s reply to his request was revelatory and instructive. Here is the apostle’s reply: Acts 8:20-23
May your silver perish with you! Why the threatening reply?
Because Simon, thought he could obtain the gift of God with money!
You have neither part nor lot in this matter! Why?
Because this disciple’s heart was not right before God.
Repent! Of what?
The wicked intent of his heart. How?
By praying to the Lord, if possible, for the wicked intent of his heart to be forgiven him.
For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity!
While the first three comments of Peter centred on Simon’s action of wanting to buy God’s gift, the fourth focused on his heart. Also, in a different scene, Peter prophetically commented on Ananias’s heart, “why has Satan filled your heart…?” and why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? Acts 5:3 & 4. Was Peter’s utterance to Simon and Ananias, right? Is revelatory prophecy not meant only for exhortation? Well, what do you know!
As we read the scriptures, the Holy Spirit can use it to expose our hearts to us as well as use us prophetically to expose one another’s heart with the intent for us to repent. But, if we fail to humble ourselves and repent, eventually, our hearts actions (imaginations) which are tangible to God plays out physically Psalm 14:1. This is the reason Christ’s life starts in our hearts. A “heart set on God” may sin and recover — but it’s not so with a “heart set on sin” Romans 4:8. Why? “… In whose spirit (heart) there is no deceit” Psalm 32:2b. Selah!
Careful study of the scriptures reveals something strange about believers who did not “set their hearts on God” (failed to guard their hearts) and Satan used it as his factory. They hardly ever recovered. They either died or never got mentioned again in the bible. Examples: Ananias and Sapphira, Sual, Judas, Simon, the strayed widows, Demas et al. Given this ugly possibility, scriptures exhort and admonish us to embrace the faith (Christ) wholeheartedly and keep good conscience 1 Timothy 1:19.
Simon’s response authenticated Peter’s insight about the condition of his heart. “And Simon answered, pray for me to the Lord that nothing of what you have said may come upon me Acts 8:24.” Again, he was more interested in avoiding “perishing” than the state of his heart for which Peter advised him to seek God. Simon’s heart was unlike David’s. David’s reply and reaction after Nathan confronted him mirrored the kind of “heart that is set on God” and commended 2 Samuel 12:1-4, 5-7, 9, and 13, Acts 13:22b.
As disciples, we need to set “our hearts on God” and not let poison in because, it can affect our relationship with God — separating us from having part in the business of the Holy Spirit while being active with “Churchianity”. Twisting Hebrews chapters 7, 9 & 10 in order to console ourselves, ‘All sins — past, present, and future — have been dealt with once and for all” will not heal a “heart set on sin” and take away its deep seated guilt.
It’s doubtful any human can live a guilt free life without Jesus Christ.
As Christians, only Christ’s sacrifice, a sincere and humble walk with Him deals death blow to guilt. It makes us fall at His feet as He exposes our hearts and actions of sin(s) to us by the Holy Spirit and we actually experience increasingly the double cure of His blood. Firstly, He cleanses us from the sin(s) we’ve fallen into and it becomes history. Albeit, people may still hold it against us but not God — the sign is, we enjoy His peace within and not guilt. Secondly, the sin(s) lose its or their grip over us and we neither cherish it in our hearts nor carry on practising it or them Joel 2:13 NLT, Micah 6:8.
But, if we continue cherishing the sin(s) we fell into in our hearts or — and, practice the sin(s), then, guilt will not go away. No theological analysis, psychologist or psychiatrist has the power to take away guilt’s power over a person.
Scriptures indicates that nursing iniquity (letting out the room of our hearts to Satan) is a different kettle of fish from falling into sin through overzealousness and carelessness. I am not saying circumstance justifies sin, just highlighting the truth that God, knows each of our hearts. ‘God looks on the heart’ 1 Samuel 16:7. This is why God’s understanding and judgement differs from ours and we’re not qualified to judge (condemn) anyone. We can state our understanding of God’s position but, is God’s to condemn or justify anyone.
Hence, Jesus’s words to His body (the Church) is always pointed to the inside of the cup (heart) because it’s where God looks on. While, it’s not optional to keep outside the cup clean, for God, as aptly narrated by Jesus, outside cleanliness of our cups must come from the inside cleanliness His blood has achieved and is achieving for us Matthew 5:20, 1 Peter 3:4. This is the kind of righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees Matthew 23:25, 5:8.
So, to think or teach that the evils we may harbour in our hearts is less evil compared to when it’s actualised for others to see is deceptive. Whilst physical murder has more consequences for a victim’s family and friends unlike a victim of hatred, God, who is Spirit, understands how hatred of anyone (even those who make us their enemies) equates to murder 1 John 3:15, Matthew 5:43-48, 1 Peter 1:22 . We have the option to agree or disagree with God but not the luxury of moderating His judgement, period!
We can best serve our communities and bring healing to those battling with guilt by encouraging them to walk heartily with Christ.
God takes the things we permit, contrive, cherish and hold in our hearts towards other people and our spouses very seriously 1 Chronicles 15:29, Malachi 2:15 NKJV, Proverbs 4:23. A teaching that diminishes this truth is deadly Proverbs 25:28 NKJV, Proverbs 16:32 NKJV.
Paul stated it clearly: Think aright — and act rightly Philippians 4:8-9. It’s opportunity that restrains whatever we have in our hearts (hatred or love) from translating to physical murder or act of kindness.
It’s a faithless generation that fails to guard her heart. Guard YOUR heart!