Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Grace Alive – Judgment and Fury No More – Jesus “Stands in the Gap,” Even Now!

“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” –Ezekiel 22:30-31 (NLT). (Italics used to emphasise.)

That was then, this is now! As it was in those times, judgment was promised and projected outward. Like cause and effect, the judgment of God, once initiated, was swift and sure.

“So he declared he would destroy them.

But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the Lord and the people.

He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them.” –Psalm 106:23 (NLT). (Italics used to emphasise.)

Moses was that man who stood in the gap for his people—a people the LORD had disconnected from Moses in their constant wickedness. Moses not only stood in the gap, he convinced God to turn his wrath from them (Exodus 33:9-14). And no sooner had Moses returned to the camp he was in a furious uproar at the pestilent idolatry of a hopeless people in the midst of spiritual calamity (Exodus 32:19-20).

No matter what this man who stood in the gap could do, nothing could actually ‘fix’ this problem he and the LORD continually encountered. Well, not at that time.

The problem of sin is confounding. It always has been and it always will be. We have no hope. No one can successfully stand in the gap for us. Or so it seems.

There is One. He came here and lived a human life; when he left he left his Presence via the Holy Spirit—a Spirit that is placed in everyone as God shows no partiality[1]—and this is a Spirit that works in and through our consciences.

Given the Presence of the Holy Spirit, and the fact of his earthly demise in ‘finishing’ the work of Creative redemption, Jesus Christ stands in the gap now, and continually—reigning evermore. There is now no condemning judgment for those in this Lord of redemption.

Grace is over and above what anyone could ask or even imagine about God. No one could have predicted it, for they’d have needed the sight of an overwhelming love which is beyond any plain human being.

And we’re called to epitomise this Lord. We’re called to stand in the gap for our fellows; we’re called to reach out in love, in kindness, in patience; in justice; in dignity and fairness. We have the supreme example through Christ Jesus, our Lord. We fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

[1] See Romans 2:11; Deuteronomy 10:17f; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Ecclesiastes 3:11.

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