FAITHFUL AND FAIR
“God will repay each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honour and immortality, He will give eternal life. But for those who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honour and peace for everyone who does good; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favouritism.” Romans 2:6-11.
Isn’t it amazing? God is so fair that He allows us to choose the outcome of our lives! But, unlike the devil, He tells us all the options and doesn’t hide the small print. He lays it all out for us and then allows us to make an informed choice.
So why do so many people ignore His warnings, reject His offer of a new start on the right way, and end up where they didn’t want to go? There are some very powerful forces at work to keep us from believing God and being the beneficiaries of His mercy and grace.
The first is the same deception that led the first pair to defy God. Satan suggested that God is unreliable and unfair. He sowed doubt into their minds about His integrity. According to the devil, God either did not say what He meant or He did not mean what He said. In spite of all the warnings in Scripture, many people still refuse to believe that God means what He says. In their foolishness, they brush Him aside with the age-old argument, “It won’t happen to me.”
Long ago, God said through Asaph, the psalmist, “You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you…When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you.” Psalm 50:17; 21. People are still like that today. They think that, because nothing bad has happened to them, God either does not see or does not care about what they are doing. But they have forgotten that there is a day of reckoning coming.
The second force at work to keep us from God’s grace is the evil nature within us. Not only do we not believe Him; we don’t want to believe Him because we enjoy our sin too much. Satan does not have to do much deceiving and much persuading because we are willing allies to his deception. It suits us to believe him because we have no inclination towards God and His ways.
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear their deeds will be exposed.” John 3:19, 20.
However, in contrast to the dark side, there is a bright side. Paul said that there is a reward coming for those who persevere in doing good. Perseverance is the key. In the same way as punishment doesn’t come immediately, so rewards are being kept for the day when Jesus returns. It would be easy to lose heart and give up if we were not convinced that God is faithful and fair. We can count on the fact that He means exactly what He says.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58.
This is what the Bible calls “the fear of the Lord”. To fear God is to revere and honour Him, and to act on what He has said because He is utterly faithful; firm and immovable on what He has spoken. We can depend on His reliability because He can never contradict Himself.
It costs discipline and stickablilty to keep on doing the right thing, like the salmon swimming against the current to get to their spawning ground. Like them, we have a reward coming at the end of the journey and it is worth the trouble to keep the end in view. Those who live for the moment have their reward – the momentary “pleasure” which will turn around and bite them in the end. Those who live for the end result, glory, honour and peace, will have to wait for it, but the outcome will be forever and is fully assured.
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