2019-10-18 No Middle Ground.

“…he circled him, he cared for him,
he kept him as the apple of his eye.”
Deuteronomy 32:10b

My Puritan devotional spoke this morning about God being for us. The reference verse was Philippians 4:16 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” The point was that our true strength comes from God, not us. There was also an interesting observation, that God is for us; how terrible would it be on his wrong side!

Indeed, we once were. More than that, we were once his enemies! Imagine that! Do we ever really think about that?

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

There’s so much to that verse, but I just wanted to point out the fact that we were ENEMIES of God’s. Do we really let that sink in? Not only was he OUR enemy, that made us HIS enemy. You can’t pick a more formidable enemy than God. You think Satan is terrifying? Hah! One day Jesus will destroy that monster by breathing on him.

It gets worse. There is nothing we can do to change God’s mind on that.

Romans 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

There is no truce, no middle ground, no shared common points of reference, no room for negotiation.

Is that harsh? I mean everything I have been taught in business negotiations and interpersonal relationships is based upon some sort of give-and-take principle. Win-win, baby!

That’s not the way God look at it. You want to know God’s perspective? I’ll show you.

Romans 1:18-23 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

They are without excuse. Even so, God blesses them – for a purpose:

Romans 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Anyway, that’s a terrible position to INTENTIONALLY be in. I can’t imagine how foolish I was. Yet things are exactly the opposite for those who are born again, the ones he now calls his children.

As I have been writing this, the thought occurred to me that those who are God’s enemies are also MY enemies. God is against them, so I should be against them. Yet, how does that all work? I’m supposed to love my enemies, yes, and live peaceably with them. Romans 12 is a good lesson on this. Yet, there certainly is a difference between an enemy of God’s and a friend of God’s. Perhaps there is something for me to learn in this:

John 2:23-25 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people, and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Now, “entrust” is different than “trust.” Entrust is to put something into someone’s care or protection. Jesus wouldn’t allow this because he knew what was in the heart of man, i.e. Romans 1:18-23. Yet, this says they believed in his name, so that wouldn’t apply, right? Well, I did some research on this. The sources I found that addressed it suggest that the verses imply that the belief was superficial, based upon seeing signs, and likely only intellectual in nature. If that is so, then they were still enemies of God.

This makes sense, because believers are certainly supposed to entrust themselves to one another, for example a husband and wife. So, this must be referring to unbelievers.

Bottom line, Jesus didn’t entrust himself to unbelievers. How might I do things like my Master?

Father, teach me. Amen.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

Leave a Reply