Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Bible's "Dirty Little Secret"

The following excerpt is a reminder of how politically incorrect the Bible can be! We Christians can actually find ourselves embarrassed regarding such ideas, avoiding at all cost getting into conversations on such topics with non-Christians. You might say, to the "God-only-loves-you" Christian, this is the Bible's "dirty little secret." It's sad that a truly converted Christian would have this reaction toward parts of God's Word. God's Word is God's Word - all of it! Let's let the master preacher give us some insight into why we should actually get excited about the wrath of God! That's right...I said "excited!"  Read on!

This is famed English preacher Charles Spurgeon's exposition of Psalm 119:118-120.

Verse 118: "Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood."

There is no holding up for them; they are thrown down and then trodden down, for they choose to go down into the wandering ways of sin. Sooner or later, God will set his foot on those who turn their foot from his commands: it has always been so, and it always will be so to the end.

If the salt has lost its savour, what is it fit for but to be trodden under foot? God puts away the wicked like dross, which is only fit to be cast out as dung and to be trodden down.

"For their deceit is falsehood."
They call it farseeing policy, but it is absolute falsehood, and it shall be treated as such. Ordinary men call it clever diplomacy, but the man of God calls a spade a spade, and declares it to be falsehood, and nothing less; for he knows that it is so in the sight of God.

Men who err from the right road invent pretty excuses with which to deceive themselves and others, and so attempt to quiet their consciences and maintain their credit; but their mask of falsehood is too transparent.

God treads down falsehoods; they are only fit to be spurned by his feet, and crushed into the dust. How horrified will those be who have spent all their lives in contriving a confectionery religion, when they see it all trodden upon by God as a sham which he cannot endure.

"Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies." 

He does not trifle with them, nor handle them with kid gloves. No, he judges them to be the scum of the earth, and he treats them accordingly by putting them away.

He puts them away from his church, away from their honors, away from the earth, and at last away from himself. "Depart," saith he, "ye cursed."

If even a good man feels forced to put away the evil-doers from him, much more must the thrice holy God put away the wicked. They looked like precious metal, they were intimately mixed up with it, they were laid up in the same heap; but the Lord is a refiner, and every day he removes some of the wicked from among his people, either by making a shameful discovery of their hypocrisy or by consuming them from off the earth.

They are put away as dross, never to be recalled. As the metal is the better for losing its alloy, so is the church the better for having the wicked removed.

These wicked ones are '"of the earth"' — '" the wicked of the earth,'" and they have no right to be with those who are'" not of the world'"; the Lord perceives them to be out of place and injurious, and therefore he puts them away, all of them, leaving none of them to deteriorate his people.

The process will one day be perfected; no dross will be spared, no gold will be left impure.

Where shall we be when that great work is finished? Shall we be treasured with the gold, or trodden down with the dross?

"Therefore I love thy testimonies."

Even the severities of the Lord excite the love of his people.

If he allowed men to sin with impunity, he would not be so fully the object of our loving admiration. He is glorious in holiness because he thus rids his kingdom of rebels, and his temple of them that defile it.

In these evil days, when God's punishment of sinners has become the butt of a proud skepticism, we may regard it as a mark of the true man of God that he loves the Lord none the, less, but: a great deal the more, because of his condign judgment of the ungodly.

We greatly value those passages of Scripture which are most terrible in their denunciation of sin and sinners. We love those testimonies which foretell the overthrow of evil and the destruction of the enemies of God.

A God more lenient would be a God less loving and less loved.

Holy hearts love best a perfectly righteous God.

"My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments."

He did not exult over the punishment of others, but he trembled on his own account.

Such was his awe in the presence of the Judge of all the earth, whose judgment he had just now been considering, that he did exceedingly fear and quake.

Familiarity with God breeds a holy awe of him.

Even the grosser part of David's being, his flesh, felt a solemn dread at the thought of offending One so good and great, who would so effectually sever the wicked from among the just. Alas, poor flesh, this is the highest thing to which thou canst attain! Yet this is far better than thy pride when thou dost exalt thyself against thy Maker.

"And I am afraid of thy judgments."

God's words of judgment are solemn, and his deeds of judgment are terrible; they may well make us afraid.

At the thought of the Judge of all:
• his piercing eye
• his books of record
• his day of assize
• his awful sentence
• and the execution of his justice we may well cry for cleansed thoughts, and hearts, and ways, lest his judgments should light on us.

When we see the great Refiner separating the precious from the vile, we may well feel a godly fear, lest we should be put away by him, and left to be trodden under his feet. Even his judgments, as we find them written in the word, fill us with trembling; and this becomes to us an evidence of grace.

But what will the judgments themselves be when carried into effect? Oh the trembling and the fear which will be the eternal portion of those who run upon the bosses of Jehovah's; buckler and defy his wrath!

So, what do you think? Heavy duty? You bet, but I dare you to show me any biblical inconsistency in Spurgeon. So, let's let God be God and learn to accept Him as He is revealed in ALL of God's Word. And let's be humbled, in this particular case, over His mercy toward us. And finally, let's be motivated by God's wrath. The existence of God's wrath clearly indicates that God is holy, righteous and just and that He is against everything unholy, unrighteous and unjust. If he weren't holy, righteous and just, He would have nothing to get mad about, right? So, I thank God that He is what He is, recognizing in His wrath a implicit recognition of His character. Think about it!

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