Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Justifying the Ungodly

4:1 What then shall we say was gained by [1] Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in [2] him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.”(Romans 4:1-5 (ESV)
“Him who justifies the ungodly,” what a God. “I thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the third generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Of all the things I learned as a kid, this one sticks. Partly it sticks because I once encountered a guy who blamed that passage he learned in school for his atheism. He didn’t think jealousy was an emotion God should have. We do try to teach our kids not to be jealous. But no one wants a spouse that isn’t jealous of them. It’s one thing to be jealous of what your friend has, it is another to be jealous of what you have. The jealousy of God is a good thing for us. It compels him to justify the ungodly. That is it compels him to justify you.
To say God is jealous of you is to say that he loves you. But a jealous love is often an unaccountable love, and unreasonable love, a love that doesn’t see straight. I’m not here to tell God what is seeing straight and what is unreasonable. But when you look at his love for us, it certainly seems unreasonable from a sinners viewpoint. We think God should love what we love, what we think he should have reason to love, because our skewed emotions have reason to love it. That is we think God should love the godly, the people we think are godly. But if he was to love the godly, he would love no one.
No one is godly, no one is good. Not only do our sinful deeds and actions far outweigh anything we consider good, even those things we consider good can be exposed as sinful if we begin to examine them in light of God’s word. But God is jealous. He is jealous of his creation, he is jealous of you, and so he will not let evil have the last word. Instead he counts as righteous the ungodly who believe in him, the ungodly whom Jesus Christ saved with his death and resurrection, redeemed with his blood.

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