Saturday, September 15, 2012

1st Clement 21 - God is always watching

Clement reminds us that, to choose God, is to choose obedience. He warns us to,
"Take heed, beloved, lest His many kindnesses lead to the condemnation of us all. [For thus it must be] unless we walk worthy of Him, and with one mind do those things which are good and well-pleasing in His sight." (1 Clement 21)
It is hard to imagine how the kindnesses of God could lead to the condemnation of us all. How could something so good as God's kindness bring about something so horrible as our commendation. Can God's kindness be a minister of evil? No! However, when we misuse God's kindness, we can lead ourselves down a path that ends up in condemnation. When we misunderstand God's kindness and presume it to be tacit approval of our unrighteous behavior then we set our lives heading down a path to destruction. Just because the Holy Spirit does not strike us dead like Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), does not mean that He approves of everything we do. God's kindness will only serve to benefit us if we continue to walk in a way that is worth of such kindness.

This reminds me of the story where Moses sent out the spies to spy out the Promised Land. While they found the land worth of wanting and full of good things, they despaired because they found it to be, "a land that devours its inhabitants." (Numbers 13:32) At first, I thought this was an unworthy assessment of the Promised Land, but I've come to believe that it is true; the Kingdom of God is a land that devours its inhabitant, but only when they insist on walking contrary to the ways of the kingdom. If we walk in conformance of the Kingdom, always doing what is good and well-pleasing in God's site, then we will prosper. However, if we insist in walking in our own ways, in ways contrary to the Kingdom, the we will be devoured and bring condemnation upon ourselves. Life in the Kingdom must be lived according to the ways of the Kingdom.

Part of walking according to the ways of the Kingdom is to live in the revelation of the presence of God.
"Let us reflect how near He is, and that none of the thoughts or reasonings in which we engage are hid from Him." (1 Clement 21)
This revelation is more than an experience, it transcends experience into belief. Even when we cannot "feel" His presence, we believe that He is near; ever watching, seeing, hearing, and guarding. We must live our lives knowing that God is always watching and that He sees everything. If we delude ourselves that, while being kind to us God is blind to our behavior, then we open ourselves to temptation and to a lifestyle that is precipitous towards evil. However, if we are continually aware that God is ever with us, either by experience or by faith, then the fear of the Lord and our love for Him will serve to restrain us when temptation comes knocking. We will be careful what we do knowing that God is always watching.

David Robison

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