Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jesus....Destroyed Those Who Did Not Believe

Jude 1:5-7 (ESV)
Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. [6] And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— [7] just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Objective and subjective Justification, “Now I want to remind you… that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed those who did not believe. Jesus was the voice of the burning bush. Jesus was the pillar of cloud and fire. Jesus saved the Israelites, but when they still did not believe he destroyed them. When they gave themselves up to the worship of false gods with all the immorality that that entailed, Jesus destroyed them. Jesus did it. Jesus is the God of the Old Testament, Jesus led the armies of Israel against the Philistines.
We should keep this in mind. This is why we should fear and love God when it comes to his commandments. There is something to be feared there, every bit as much as there is more to be loved. It isn’t politically correct to talk of fear of God and why we should fear him. But God’s threat of punishment for sin and unbelief is not empty, the Old Testament testifies to that. The last day will make that look like a walk through Disney Land, as torturous as that can be.
But there is no reason that any of us should ever have to experience it. Jesus has saved us. He has saved us from sin, death and the devil. He has led us from slavery to sin, bondage to law, and oppression of the Devil resulting in death. He did this with his death and resurrection, and it is an objective fact that he has done that for you, just as much as it is an objective fact that he led the Israelites out of Egypt.
There is not one of these people who had a foot to stand on to argue that Jesus led them out of Egypt. It was an objective fact. They had left Egypt. They had followed a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night, and this pillar had led them through the Red sea and into the wilderness, out of Egypt, beyond the grip of pharaoh. That is not questionable. It is objective fact. The people at that time had experienced it. Now they were in the wilderness, yesterday they were in Egypt, and they knew that God had led them. Yet they did not believe. They did not trust God, they did not fear him, they did not love him. They did not believe. They took him for granted, they took advantage of his generosity, and they did not heed his threats of punishment. So he destroyed them for their unbelief.
So it is an objective fact that Jesus has saved us. His death and resurrection is an historical fact. Sure people question it, many don’t believe it. But it does not change its factualness. Jesus died and on the third day he rose again. And he did it for you. He says so. It is objective, outside of us. It is a fact that must be wrestled with. No world view is complete without accounting for this fact, that Jesus died and rose again from the dead. All philosophies and religions must wrestle with this fact. It is the truth claim upon which Christianity is based. It is true regardless of what you believe, or feel. Jesus has saved you and there is nothing you can do about it. It is true regardless of whether you believe it.
Yet, so often people don’t believe it, they are condemned already, not by Jesus, but by themselves. They are responsible for their unbelief. If after Jesus has died on your behalf, you do not believe, what else can he do for you. But faith manifests itself in fear, love and trust in God. Perhaps it is never “above all things” as it should be. But that is what faith is a fear, love and trust in God. And this fear, love and trust in God leads us to heed his word, cherish his word, trust his word, even his law. We do not believe the gospel to the nullification of the law, but to its fulfillment. Our sin is always a manifestation of the unbelief that lives inside of us to this day. Saint and sinner as we are. But our love for our neighbor, our trust in God and that he knows best for us, yes even our fear of his awesome majesty is always a manifestation of our faith in he who has saved us, in the objective fact of his death and resurrection. The objective is true, but without the subjective it does us no good.

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