Tuesday, March 3, 2015

EMMDEV 2015-03-03 [Apostle's Creed] Ascended (7) to Judge

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Matthew25:31-32

The picture of "gentle Jesus, meek and mild," returning in divine glory and majesty to execute judgement is a one that many people struggle with.

We like to talk about God's love.
But love without justice is not really true love.
It is blind love (ignores the sin, failure and brokenness) and we're always at risk that the sin that is "swept under the carpet" becomes a lump that love trips over.

Love without justice can also become favouritism because love without justice means that I am as loved as you are even though I am hurting you in a terrible way. If your cause is not picked up by love then maybe I am loved more than you.

So God's love includes justice - it balances the scales. It rights the wrongs.

The other side of _love_ is justice.

There are two ways for justice to be satisfied:
Either I must pay for my crimes or someone else must.

BUT the other side of _justice_ is love.

And so Jesus offered Himself as the consequence-bearer.

The final judgement is where every human being will face their sin and guilt and will either carry the weight of the consequences of their brokenness or they will have trusted Christ to do so.

Must people think about judgement with some negativity.

I welcome the idea of judgement.

When I watch the news, hear the reports and read the papers I am alarmed, distressed and traumatised by the child-rape, the abuse, the war, the martyring that goes on in the world. I am shaken to my core at the horror of heartache and pain that people go through at the hands of others.

If love just overlooked this I wouldn't feel safe.

I am comforted that sin will be confronted and that it will be paid for. I am sad beyond description that some people will reject the payment that Jesus made on their behalf when He died a sinners' death on the cross, but I am comforted by judgement and it makes me trust Him more - especially since He chooses to judge even though it meant severe consequences for Jesus.

That concludes this mini-section on the ascension - it also deals with "and sits on the right hand of God the Father" (See Ascension 1) and "returns to judge the living and the dead." (Ascension 7)
The Creed has only one line on the Holy Spirit:
"I believe in the Holy Spirit."
(The early church experienced the work of the Holy Spirit so powerfully that they did not seem to think it necessary to explain His work.)

Things have changed and I believe there is much to learn about the Holy Spirit.
A few years ago I did a series on the Holy Spirit and I think it might be helpful to revisit that material.

As I'm still on long leave, I will be sending you the first two parts of that series tomorrow. This will allow you to work through this systematically until after Easter when I'll pick up on the rest of the Creed.

With much love,
God bless,

Theo Groeneveld theo @ emmanuel.org.za

You can see past EmmDevs at emmdev[dot]blogspot[dot]com/