Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

By Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

Functional Christlikeness is the singular goal of God for the church, yet we find instead that many Christians are angry. Why shouldn't they be, they ask. Major strongholds of evil and oppression exist almost without restraint in our society today. Not only is evil expanding in our culture, but many of its forms are actually protected by a demonically invaded legal system.

Their anger is understandable. Whether we reside in a major metropolitan area or make our home in a small rural setting, the boundaries of morality in our country continue to erode. We have only to think about the protection given to those favoring abortion, the mainstreaming of homosexuality, or the applause offered to immorality, and a holy grieving stirs within us.

Redemption, Not Anger

We should be deeply troubled by sin, for it has the power not only to destroy our souls, but also to provoke the wrath of God upon our nation. Yet how we handle evil in our society is the point of this study. Our goal is to win our war -- not just react to the battle. We must remember:

"We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph. 6:12 KJV).
The moment our anger is directed toward "flesh and blood" enemies, we surrender our hope for victory. God's objective goes beyond simply eliminating evil. He seeks redemption, not revenge.

We might have all the doctrines correct about salvation, and our church attendance record might be spotless, but if we continue to harbor an angry spirit, we are walking away from Christlikeness; we are in danger of falling away.

Yet you are not in apostasy, beloved. Your quest is the nature of Christ. You know that apart from conformity to Him, you will never be satisfied. Though we all have often fallen short, still we abide beneath our Father's covering grace. Indeed, so essential to His purpose is the Christlike transformation of our hearts that God will endure our frequent mistakes, granting us time until His call to love awakens within us.

Thus, with relief we read how the early disciples, who similarly misrepresented Christ's redemptive mission, eventually were restored and transformed. When Jesus and His followers passed through Samaria, they were rejected and scorned by the locals. Offended, the apostles became indignant and angry. Two disciples even asked, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" (Luke 9:54).

How eager they were to embrace the administration of God's wrath! How conveniently the wrath of God could be used to support their own shortsighted love. Jesus rebuked them plainly, saying, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of" (v. 55).

This is exactly the problem in Christianity today: many sincere Christians do not know what spirit they are of. They do not know the difference between a judgmental spirit and the Spirit of Christ, the Redeemer.

In the clearest terms, Jesus again explained His mission to His disciples. He said, "The Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (v. 56).

Jesus was speaking of all men in general, but His response concerned cultural enemies in particular. The Samaritans, in the minds of the Jews, were a people scorned and reproached. Yet, even for people who were enemies, He said that He did not come to destroy but to save. His disciples eventually learned this lesson and were used by God to spread the Gospel all over the world.

What we see in Jesus is to be repeated in substance and power in the church. Thus, our mission is to carry out His mission: to see people and situations redeemed, not destroyed.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Power of One Christlike Life available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

1 comment:

  1. Please please please preach this everywhere you can. Keep traveling, keep going out there, please bring this word to a church hungry for real Christlikeness.

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