Friday, January 13, 2012


I'm listening to a fantastic sermon by one of my favorite preachers, Voddie BauchamTheir church is going through Romans, and what Pastor Baucham has to say about chapter 12 has just been swirling and whirling around my brain and heart for months now.  The sermon is called No Room for Personal Vengeance.  Please please listen to it.

One thing that occurs to me as I listen is that the following point by Pastor Baucham is valid, whether we're talking about American Marines urinating on dead Taliban soldiers they've just eliminated, or if we're talking about brothers and sisters writing each other off over being blinded to our own sinfulness and hypocrisy. 

The point:

There is an ugly hypocrisy in considering my own sin worthy of forgiveness but deciding that someone else's sin is worthy of wrath. 

Whether that person be someone in my own home, someone in my neighborhood, someone in my church, or a terrorist in Afghanistan.  Whether we like it or not,
God does not have a scale on which He qualifies our sin.  

There are not levels of Hell.  

Without Christ in my heart, I would go 
to the same Hell as Osama bin Laden. 
 (So would you, by the way.)  

Know why?
Because apart from Christ, our sin is no different than anyone else's! 

My sin of disrespecting my husband in front of my children is viewed as IDENTICALLY SINFUL to our holy and righteous God, as the sin of using an airliner loaded with innocent people as a missile!  It is not God who has decided this sinner is worse than that one.  It is human petty selfishness and self-righteous haughtiness that has placed the sliding scale fee on forgiveness.

How quickly and easily we forget the thief on the cross!

Find a verse in Scripture where God says to the victim of an injustice, "Go ahead and desecrate the body of that Philistine you just killed in my name.  You're the victim and you deserve to do it."  Or, "Yes, this person has treated you shamefully.  You don't have to go fix their dishwasher for them, even though they desperately need the help and you're capable of giving it.  If you've decided they're undeserving right now because of their treatment of you, why then of course let's go by your standards instead of mine."

You won't find it. 

What you will find:

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.  On the contrary; "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."  Romans 12:17-21

"Do not say, 'I'll do to him as he has done to me;  I'll pay that man back for what he did.'"  Proverbs 24:29

"It is mine to avenge;  I will repay.  In due time, their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them."  Deuteronomy 32:35

"Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn His wrath away from him."  Proverbs 24:17-18

There are SO many more.  So. so. many.  And trust me.  I've tried like crazy to avoid them.  So what do you think He keeps immersing me in for 6 months?  Yeah.  It's been crazy up here in my head.  But I'm thankful for the lesson.  God is gentle with me when I don't deserve it.

I'll end this with one of the many profound statements I heard in this sermon (giving God all the glory for the wisdom He's given Pastor Baucham):

"You just remember that when that day comes, and Christ exacts revenge on sinners, your posture will not be of one with a raised, clenched fist, saying, "Get 'em!  Get 'em!  Get 'em!"  But instead, your response will be of one who falls to his knees, as you see Christ exact revenge on others that He should have exacted from you.  And you will recognize that the One Who is exacting the justice is the One Who was stricken, smitten and afflicted because of YOUR SIN.  You will not - you will NOT - in that moment rejoice in your own vindication, but you will only rejoice in the vindication of God."  -- Voddie Baucham

I shudder and am rendered speechless. I am overcome with the knowledge that it is my sin that put Christ on the cross.  Without Christ in my heart, I stand before God no better than what human society would consider to be the vilest of creatures, most worthy of the world's hatred and deserving of His wrath.

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