Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 25
April 13, 2008
Lincolnton, N.C.

<428> Thesis: Hold the feet of others to the fire gently. Introduction: In our studies of Jesus' instructions to His disciples, we have seen that He is particularly focused upon having the character of His Father made manifest by means of the way His disciples treat others, particularly those "others" who are hateful and self-willed. In the setting into which Jesus injected His instruction, the "typical" world-view was highly "legal" and "graceless". This was the result of a long term distortion of the character of God in the direction of "Justice". At any time when a particular characteristic of God is emphasized and reemphasized, a distortion is going to happen. God is "holy", which means that He maintains a perfect balance between His attributes at all times. Justice is balanced by Grace. Love is balanced by Hate. Power is balanced by Wisdom. Compassion is balanced by Mercy. So, it is easy to understand that, in a "legal" distortion where everyone is pitilessly subjected to the consequences of their own sins, there is a potent need for the insertion of a "gracious" balance into the setting. Jesus wanted His disciples to be His instruments of regaining a legitimate balance. These days we have swung on the pendulum of human imbalance from a heavily "legalized" world view to a heavily "libertine" world view where Justice is mocked all the day long. The text before us this morning has been victimized by the swing of this pendulum so much that the real character of the holy God has been lost from view by a vast majority of those living in this present American setting. It is my goal this morning to attempt to provide a way back to the balance of seeing God as He is so that we may live the Joy.