Balancing Things Out :: by Gene Lawley

My background of years in an accounting profession compresses me into a debit-credit outlook on things of biblical consideration.  That is, “rightly dividing the word of truth” brings up an issue of “balance,” two plus two is always four, never five or some other amount.

There seems to be a mathematical characteristic throughout the universe, and the natural laws of the universe bear that out.  All music, for example, is mathematically based—so many counts per measure for different rhythms, etc. A certain variety of grass seed will only produce another plant of like kind; it has no design within itself to change its reproductive result. So I see the Scriptures, while not arranged like an encyclopedia—by topics, that is.

They are consistent with integrity in the revelation of God’s plan that He purposed before time began. Early in my Christian life I learned the theory of  “The scarlet thread from Genesis to Revelation,” which is the central message of the Bible—that Jesus Christ came into the human race as a blood sacrifice for the sins of mankind and thereby provided the only means of redemption from an eternal judgment in hell.  From Genesis to Revelation the Bible presents redemption as a result of the shedding of blood, but not just any blood.

Leviticus 17:11, says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar as an atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes the atonement.”  The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission [of sins]” (Hebrews 9:22).  But these are foreshadows of that which John the Baptist declared: “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  And so runs the scarlet thread through the history of mankind.

Another principle of balance in the Scriptures is in the term, “mutually exclusive.” For example, evil and righteousness are “mutually exclusive” in that both cannot exist together. The proverb that says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13) speaks to that end, as does Psalm 13:12:  “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

The point is this: The sinfulness of man and the righteousness of God cannot abide together, ever! Romans 8:6-7 spells it out: “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace, because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” This one trips us up constantly—the flesh trying to be religious without submitting to God’s control.  When Jesus said, “You cannot serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24), He was not just idly talking.

Also, there is more depth in what Jesus told the woman at the well about worshipping God. He said, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:21-24).

Of course, He knew the day was coming soon that the temple in Jerusalem would be

destroyed and the Jews dispersed throughout the whole world, no longer worshipping God in a temple in Jerusalem. Why is it that we have to turn spiritual things into something physical that we can get our hands on in order to “worship” God?  It appears God is speaking to the issue of having an idol in our hands, which we think will make us more spiritual.  What was the intent of God’s earlier commandments of the ten?  They go like this:

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain”  (Exodus 20:3-7).

The Bible is clear; God is everywhere present. Worship Him in spirit, one on one, face to face, by acknowledging His presence, and as Hebrews 4:15 says, “Come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Contrary to the belief in some circles, the bread and drink do not turn miraculously, into the actual body and blood of the Lord Jesus. In that context in John 6, He said, “The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). Remember that tax collector, who, beating upon his breast, not daring to look up, declared, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13).  Worship God in spirit and in truth; He is seeking such to worship Him.

We have mixed the leaven of self-righteousness with the mutually exclusive  righteousness and holiness of the eternal God and are now puffed up with pride of self, boldly proclaiming that Jesus is not the only way to heaven, that God loves everyone in his sinfulness without repentance.  But the time is not far off that many will hear Him say,  “’I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23)

Twice the wise writer of Proverbs made this declaration: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25). It is an eternal truth that God does not desire that any should perish, but the flip side of that is a fixed necessity:  All must come to repentance—turn from their own way and choose God’s way (2 Peter 3:9). This is mutually inclusive.