When some think of God’s character they think of how the law says He deals with the righteous and the wicked. But, is this a clear picture of God’s character? Is this how God wants His people to think of Him? Obey or die because the soul that sinneth it shall die and the wages of sin is death? Is this what motivates you to obey God? If it is then you have not known the true God. You have the wrong motivation and the wrong idea about what God’s character really is.
In Proverbs11:31 we read, “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.”
This passage is understood by some to be a message of judgment and condemnation. Many passages will have a likelihood of being misunderstood like this if we think of God in this way. But, this only happens because one misguidedly comes to believe that the law defines God’s character. This develops in them a belief that God’s character is one of condemnation rather than one of love as John taught in 1John4:7,8.
Scriptures like Rom.3:23 that says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. And Rom.6:23 that says “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. And Gal.3:24 that says “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” are all scriptures that come to mind. But, there are many.
The lie that the law defines God’s character in the end works to keep them from knowing the true God just as Paul says the law kept Israel “shut up unto the faith” in Gal.3:23. By being shut up unto the faith they have joined themselves to one of the cults rather than the family of God.
A counterpart in the New Testament for Proverbs11:31 is found in the teachings of Paul. One that will help those who have been led astray from the beginning to be set free from the law of sin and death. So they now realize that He loves us more than our finite minds can comprehend. And that God’s character is one of justification that comes by faith, not condemnation that comes through the law of sin and death.
The counterpart to Pr.11:31 is found in 2Cor.3 where Paul teaches us what happens at God’s judgment of the righteous. Here Paul speaks of the foundation all believers must have in order to partake in the judgment of the believers in Jesus. A foundation that is the same for all those who are truly saved. For it is the foundation given to us by the prophets and apostles. The foundation for the faith once delivered to the saints. And that foundation is Jesus Christ.
This means that what we believe about Jesus, and not just that we say we believe in Jesus, becomes paramount. Because to partake in the recompense of the righteous we must trust in and truly know the Jesus of the Bible. The righteous have this recompense because they have believed in Jesus with the same faith by which Jesus believed in the Father. So it is very important that we understand and believe what the Bible plainly says concerning Jesus, before we believe what someone tells us about Him.
This recompense Proverbs and 1Cor.3 speaks of is thought by many to be a severe judgment of God. A payment for some bad things they may have done for which one suffers. But, the judgment of the righteous is only the rewards a believer receives for believing God in the circumstances they faced while they were alive on earth. These are therefore the work of faith. The same faith that Jesus expressed that is for the purpose of pleasing God as Heb.11:6 tells us. Faith that comes from a heart of thankfulness and humility as Paul says in Phil.4. This is why we are told that God rewards those whose faith is pleasing to Him.
This work is not just the good things the believer might do. The works the believer may do are really just the by products of faith that are the natural outgrowth of believing in Jesus. A response of faith to the things of this life that would otherwise lead us away from God if we let them. A faith response that is as natural to the believer, as missing the mark, which John16:7-13 says is no faith in Jesus, is to the unbeliever.
For the believer this response of faith is the “gold, silver, and precious stones” for which Proverbs 11:31 says the believer is “recompensed”. It is for these he is rewarded. While Paul says that anything he may have done that was not of faith, the wood, hay, and stubble, is simply burned up. Not by real fire to imply a real suffering. But, only “as by fire” in the judgment of the believer that shows a loss for rewards that might have been.
So the loss Paul refers to in 1Cor.3:15 that the believer suffers is not a painful reminder and condemnation for doing something that was not of faith. It is simply the discarding of things that do not benefit the believer in eternity.
We know this because in Rom.8:1 Paul says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Why? Because as Paul says in vs.2 “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death”. So Paul says condemnation is only for those who are under the law. And for those who have chosen to cling to their idols in rejection of Jesus. All of which will be at a different judgment. One John describes in Rev.20:11 as the great white throne judgment.
So when the believer is judged for the things he did while on earth there is no pain or sorrow or condemnation that goes with it. But, only joy for the unfathomable love of God that he is shown and the rewards he receives. Just as Proverbs11 says to those who really do know God and His Son whom He has sent. It says to those who know God and His Son whom He has sent that there will be rewards from God that will bless us beyond our wildest imagination. Both in this life and in the life to come. Paul tells us in 1Cor.2:9, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
So when Paul says in 1Cor.3:13 that “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is”, he is not telling us that God will replay your life on a giant screen for all to see to make sure that everyone will know all the things we did as believers that were not of faith. So that we will be embarrassed and condemned for those things. Rather, God’s recompense of the righteous is justification, not condemnation.
God does not use condemnation as a means of coercing us to do what He wants us to. According to Rom.2:4 His love and goodness is more than enough for that. He is telling us that anything the believer may have done that was not of faith will be burned up. So that all that remains is the great joy and reward from God who loves us more than we can know in this lifetime.
As our Father our believing Him gives God great pleasure just as it would any earthly father who rewards his child for loving and trusting him. And because God is consummate love the pleasure He gets from this is far greater than an earthly father can experience. This is why Heb.11:6 says God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Because in seeking Him we will know Him. And knowing Him brings the greatest reward anyone can ever receive. The inheritance of immortality for eternal life and so much more in His kingdom.
So if we will believe God is love as we are told in the Bible we will no longer be predisposed to believe that God’s character is one of condemnation as is taught by those who teach the doctrine of original sin and sin nature. Rather, we will know Him as He truly is. A God whose character it is to love. One who is therefore predisposed to love and not to condemn.
This is why John3:17 says Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world. But, that the world might be delivered through Him. Because His character is love, not condemnation. Grace, not law. A character defined by God’s will that none should perish. A character that has willed to us a kingdom that is “love, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit”.
Will you trust in Jesus for this great inheritance? Will you receive the recompense of the righteous that all who have trusted in Him will receive? He has done all that needs to be done so that you can. All that is left is for you to choose to believe in Him and His resurrection. Turn from the law and idols to trust in the true and living God.
Pray with me if you desire Jesus and the recompense of the righteous both in this life and the life to come.
Dear Jesus, thank you for joining with me in death. So that I can join with you in eternal life. Thank you for conquering death for me by the resurrection. I trust in you as my Lord and my savior. Thank you for making me your child and now heir to your kingdom and it’s recompense of the righteous. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed with me then praise Jesus! And welcome to God’s family. Now as you read the Bible believe what it plainly says. And with the leading of the Holy Spirit you will learn the truth about who Jesus really is and all that He has for you. God bless you in your new life in Christ.
See you there or in the air!
This message cam also be heard at: Rumble
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