God IS the standard.

PrintWhat is the standard for morality? Is it arbitrary, did God create it, can he change it? I was mulling over how I would answer these questions this week. I knew that I would want to explain that true righteousness can only be found in Christ. That morality is not arbitrarily what God “decides it should be”. Why can I say this so confidently? Because God IS the standard of morality. He IS Righteousness. As the sermon on the mount puts it, when we hunger and thirst for righteousness we are satisfied. We are satisfied not because of a law or a code that is found, or decided upon, but because to be filled with righteousness is to be filled with God. The living, powerful God Who has no beginning or end. The unchanging (immutable) God. Since He is eternal and immutable, then all that is truly Good and Perfect also does not change and did not begin; because He was, and is, and is to come. The world’s standard changes with the whim of pop culture, with the urges and desires of man, but God remains unchanged and Holy. God is the standard of morality.

All that is in opposition to Who God is, His Purity, His Holiness, is therefore in opposition to God himself. That is why God describe those who have their minds set upon satisfying the very urges that oppose Him, as His enemy.

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8:7-8

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
James 4:4

This is kind of scary, I mean every time we decide to indulge the desires of the flesh we are literally taking a stand against God. Against THE God of the universe who determines are very breath and life.

However, when we choose to submit our mind and bodies to Him, we are taking a stand against the ruler of all that opposes God as James 4:7-8 says

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

I was thinking about this even further, I mean there has been times in my life where although what I was doing was “technically” or “legalistically” (in a religious sense) acceptable I knew that God did not want me to do it. He was calling me to trust Him and obey Him. Although I could be justified before man, I couldn’t before Him because it was not God’s will for my life. What then? If it is in opposition to God’s will, it is in opposition to Him. Disobedience, or to violate/fail to respect and comply with God’s will, is therefore immorality in and of itself. It is immoral, or wrong, to oppose what is perfect and pure, to oppose God.

How are we to know what God’s will is for our life? Romans 12:1-2 has the answer:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

In other words, as our minds are transformed by the Spirit we begin to have discernment and are able to better hear God’s voice. To better see the way God has for us. But, in order for this to happen we must repent and give up, or sacrifice our sinful ways. We must submit to God so that His Spirit can be in control, instead of our own desires.

God calls us to do this now, while we still have breath, before our soul passes outside of time, into eternity. He sits upon the law in a seat of mercy. Christ’s perfect blood has been shed to pay the price for sinful opposition and to protect all who come and bow before Him, the Holy One. Death has been defeated so that in God’s great mercy life can be restored to those who were at enmity with the Author and Giver of Life. Not because of anything done on the part of the enemy, but because God IS Love, unconditional love.

Grace…mercy, what’s the difference?

I recently began to wonder what the difference between God’s mercy and God’s grace is. I mean, the reason I am saved is because of God’s grace…so is mercy and grace interchangeable or does God practice grace on those who believe because of His great mercy?

I looked up the two words in Webster’s Dictionary and here are the applicable definitions:

Mercy:
1 a: compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power; also: lenient or compassionate treatment
2 a: a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion

Grace:
1 a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
   b: a virtue coming from God
   c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace

Well there we go.

God regenerates and sanctities those who have faith in Him through the propitiation of our sins by the blood of His son Jesus because of His compassion, forbearance and divine favor on the offenders (us) who are subject to His power.

Romans 3:21-30
But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.

Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

Hebrews 2:9-17
But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus,because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,

“I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN,
IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING YOUR PRAISE.”

And again,

“I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM.”

And again,

“BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME.”

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.