Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life for week ending 03/03/02.
The Doctrine of Adjusting to the Justice of God.
As we continue our study of Genesis chapter 16 and 17, we have noted that Hagar adjusted herself to the justice of God by doing what our Lord said, being obedient and going back to Sarai and submitting herself to Sarai's authority. We also noted that it was approximately 13 years before the Lord began to communicate divinely inspired information to Abram because that's how long it took him to adjust to the justice of God.
Everything that God does for us is because of His grace. However, we need to understand that divine grace is only administered through divine justice, not divine love. DEU 32:4 says "The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and just is He."
Ultimately, as we have seen, all blessing or discipline from God to us must be filtered through His justice. All of the divine attributes are filtered through the justice of God.
God is Love and He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
But we cannot have that eternal life unless the justice of God is satisfied with our righteousness.
God is also Veracity, absolute truth, but the justice of God cannot allow truth to have anything to do with lies. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me."
God is Omniscient, having all knowledge, but His justice will not allow Him to give us what He knows we need unless we have adjusted to the justice of God.
God is Omnipotent but His justice will not allow His omnipotence to destroy sin and evil until it's the right time to do so.
God is Omnipresent, but His justice will not allow Him to dwell in Hell or the eternal lake of fire.
God is Immutable, He is always faithful, but His justice will not allow Him to change His mind and give man another chance after death to those who have rejected Him, HEB 9:27.
God is perfect Righteousness but only adjustment to the justice of God will allow + R to have fellowship with imperfect man.
God is Eternal Life, but His justice will not allow Him to live eternally with sinful creatures.
God has all Sovereignty, but His justice will not allow Him to make any decisions that are against His character and nature.
God cannot use any of these divine attributes in violation of another. Whatever, God provides in grace must not compromise His perfect essence. God's justice must be free to give blessing to sinful man without violating His divine integrity and must approve everything that comes from God to man. God created man perfect and everything God provided for man came from the love of God.
In the Garden of Eden, divine love was man's point of contact with God. The righteousness and justice of God was never a point of contact for man until after man sinned. As long as man obeyed he was a recipient of what the love of God could do for him, GEN 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the Garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."
God loved man personally because there was something in man worthy of God's love, man possessed absolute righteousness however, it was not the righteousness of God but the righteousness of man, God loved man personally. However, personal love has conditions attached to it, if man violated those conditions he would have to reap the consequences for doing so. There was no impersonal-unconditional forgiving love in the Garden. When man sinned, he crossed the line from being the point of reference for the love of God to being the point of reference of the justice of God. When he crossed the line, the only thing the justice of God could do was to condemn him. And that is why after Adam and the woman sinned, we read in GEN 3:23-24, "therefore the Lord God sent him out from the Garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life."
When the Lord sent the man and the woman out of the Garden, that seemed to be a victory for Satan, the villain in the Garden who tempted the woman to sin and to also bring down the man. However, what seemed to be a victory for Satan and a defeat for God and mankind was actually a blessing in disguise. The same justice that condemned man in the Garden is the same justice that solved man's problem with sin. After God solved the sin problem and gave man perfect righteousness as a gift, He also put man under the principle of blessing from His justice. However, this time the blessings would not have conditions upon them, this time, the blessings will come from grace and justice and man would be the beneficiary of something greater than Adam and the woman had in the Garden in a perfect environment.
Through the justice of God, we have the righteousness of God that comes as ROM 3:22 states "the righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction"
Adam and the woman didn't have God's righteousness or eternal life. All of those wonderful things Adam had, he could lose in a second, all he had to do was sin and it was all gone. The love of God could only do so much. The love of God could give to Adam. The Lord would keep on coming every day to see Adam and give him more doctrine, He gave Adam the woman, Adam didn't have to work and the love of God would give Adam perfect environment. However, the love of God couldn't give Adam anything past the day that he ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The love of God could only give one day at a time in the Garden of Eden but the righteousness of God from His justice gives us, as believers, permanence and eternal security, JOH 10:28 "and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand."
The grace of God, which flows through the justice of God, makes it possible for us to have something in time greater than Adam and the woman had in the Garden. The justice of God could only come into the picture when man violated the command of God, then the justice of God condemned man and sent them out of the Garden.
Adam and the woman were created perfect by God and could die in the perfect environment of the Garden of Eden. However, we were born in sin in the imperfect environment of the devil's world and will never die if we have believed on The Lord Jesus Christ. That's why our Lord said in JOH 11:26 "Everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die."
The day that the justice of God gave you His righteousness, you have permanence and security forever and the love of God the Father couldn't do that. The love of God couldn't provide salvation, it was the justice of God that did so and that is why our Lord died on the cross.
The justice of God judged His Son for our sins so that in 2CO 5:21"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
God the Father could not provide salvation from His love because the love of God does not judge, that comes from the justice of God. Therefore, the justice of God can do much more even for us in time then the love of God, so in reality, Adam's fall was a curse turned into a blessing.
Grace working from the justice of God produces more than the love of God did under perfect environment and perfect conditions.
There are three adjustments to the justice of God in time.
The first is salvation, which is instant adjustment to the justice of God.
We simply believe in Christ, a non-meritorious function of perception.
By believing in Christ, we immediately, instantly have adjusted to the justice of God, for Christ was our substitute on the cross, He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. God the Father actually judged God the Son on cross bearing our sins and this judgment came from the justice of God. 1PE 3:18 "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;"
This instant adjustment to the justice of God means that we merely believe, and the justice of God is free to give to us at least 40 things immediately. Salvation adjustment to the justice of God is found in such passages as ROM 3:24"being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;"
The second instant adjustment occurs every time we are out of fellowship, as 1JO 1:9 says we are to simply name the sins to God, and we are forgiven and cleansed immediately. This is Rebound adjustment to the justice of God, 1JO 1:9 "If we acknowledge [name and cite] our sins, He is faithful and just, with the result that He forgives us our sins [known sins] and purifies us from all unrighteousness [unknown sins]."
The third adjustment is much more complicated and is not instantaneous, but rather it is gradual and depends upon our attitude toward doctrine and our subordination to the authority of our right pastor. We take in doctrine every day and eventually through the daily function of perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine, we move to the different stages of spiritual adulthood, all the way to the maturity barrier. This is when the justice of God is free to release our escrow blessings for time, and then rewards us in the eternal state, EPH 1:3-4; ROM 14:10; 2CO 5:10. We must all stand before the Judgment seat of Christ, the place where justice administered, to either receive rewards or lose rewards, 1CO 3:11-15.
This brings us to the principle that there is no solution in life for the unbeliever or the believer than the divine solution. The divine solution is the absolute and the only solution and the divine solution is found under the principle of learning how to adjust to the justice of God.
This takes time and gives us the attitude of a mature believer who has learned to accept the fact that the divine solution is the only solution.
When the apostle Paul was going through personal suffering, he said in 2CO 12:7-10, "And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me-- to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
Paul prayed three times that his problem be taken away. But the thorn in the flesh demanded divine solution not human solution. Paul had to adjust to the justice of God. Adjusting to the justice of God is accepting the divine solution, "My grace has been and still is sufficient for you."
Paul recognized that a part of a personal sense of destiny is that human solution is no solution to certain problems in life.
Adjusting to the justice of God is illustrated from visible heroes of the Old Testament.
In Gen 17, Abraham and Sarah finally did things God's way and therefore they adjusted to the justice of God and received the divine blessing they sought for. Abraham and Sarah finally adjusted to the justice of God and the first thing they encountered was a test--sexual death. However, when a believer adjusts to the justice of God, they never look at life from the standpoint of human failure or impossibility, because they have become strong in claiming the promises of God. Abraham did not waver in unbelief, he no longer looked at the promise of God emotionally.
God is glorified when the believer adjusts to the justice of God. Loser believers do not understand this principle of adjustment to the justice of God because they fail to recognize that they never have to worry about God. God will do everything right and keep His word. God gave a command to Abraham to be circumcised and the moment Abraham complied and adjusted to the justice of God, God restored the sexual ability of Abraham and the womb of Sarah. It didn't seem to make much sense but that is what faith is all about, doing it God's way. HEB 11:1 says "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
It also took time for Moses to adjust to the justice of God, because he was trying to do things his own way and even he, as great as he was, had difficulties in adjusting to the justice of God and the timing of God, (ACT 7:22-29). Whatever Moses did was better than anything anyone had done before him. Moses built the treasure cities of Egypt, he had a phenomenal knowledge of academics, but more importantly he learned doctrine.
He was the number one man in the Egyptian empire when it was at its peak. As a believer it was time for him to identify himself with the Jews, because God had revealed to him that he would be the founder of the Jewish nation in fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. Moses had the right personal sense of destiny but the wrong timing and he failed to adjust to the justice of God. He had to learn God's timing must always supersede man's timing. Moses, on Moses' timing, had failed to deliver Israel because his timing was wrong. It took his entire life, 120 years, for his personal sense of destiny to be fulfilled and for him to finally adjust to the justice of God. Moses had to learn that human power and human dynamics cannot fulfill the plan of God in any dispensation. Before Moses could take his family back into Egypt forty years later he had to learn the principle of adjusting to the justice of God and it's interesting that that also demanded that he circumcise his two sons, since circumcision was the ritual sign of adjusting to the justice of God.
Moses was almost put under the sin unto death for failure to obey, EXO 4:24. His wife circumcised his son and then left him and took his sons with her. Moses had learned the lesson that when God makes a promise, it does not depend on man or upon the power of man. It always has to be God's timing and God's power, not man's.
Every believer must learn the lesson of dependence on who and what God is and understand the essence of God and the fact that the Lord will provide the power. The corrected translation of HEB 11:24-27, says "By means of doctrine, when Moses had become great, he refused to be proclaimed the Pharaoh; and he choose to endure maltreatment with the people of God, rather than enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin; he concluded that reproach [insults, reviling, disgrace] for the sake of Christ greater value than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking ahead to his reward. By means of doctrine he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king's anger; for he persevered, because he kept on seeing the invisible One."
Adjustment to the justice of God means true spiritual values in time related to the spiritual life, that is what Moses did.
When a believer has adjusted to the justice of God, he has eliminated fear from his life. He waits upon the Lord for guidance and understands that between him and God, there is divine justice at work. The loser believer cannot conquer fear in a crisis because he has no adjustment to the justice of God. A believer takes his stand when he stops being afraid and utilizes the faith-rest drill, then watches the Lord's deliverance.
At the end of his life, as a great leader, Joshua said in a crisis of Jewish apostasy, Josh 24:14-15, "Now, therefore, respect the Lord and serve Him in integrity and doctrine; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River [Nile] and in Egypt, therefore serve the Lord. Furthermore if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, then choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites [the Phallic cult] in whose land you are living; but as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."
Joshua learned from Moses that you cannot force people into a course of action when it comes to doctrine. Like Moses, Joshua had adjustment to the justice of God and a life to match that adjustment.
Adjustment to the justice of God recognizes in grace that God does the work and we cannot help God and never loses sight of the fact that God does the work.
David understood the meaning of Abraham's circumcision as a sign of a adjustment to the justice of God. When Israel was being taunted the Philistine Goliath in 1SA 17:45-47, David paraphrased Moses "the Lord will fight for you today."
Jeremiah ministered for forty years, beginning with the thirteenth year of king Josiah in 626 B.C. and continued until 586 B.C. He taught the word of God under the last five kings of Judah. He taught three generations that were negative to doctrine just as Moses had done. The only response to Moses' and Jeremiah's ministries was from the young people.
Jeremiah understood the true significance of circumcision as a ritual related to Bible doctrine and adjustment to the justice of God. He understood the relationship between the reality of a adjustment to the justice of God and its meaning in the ritual of circumcision. JER 4:4, "Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My wrath go forth like fire And burn with none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds."
Jeremiah challenged the people to be circumcised, something they understood very well. The challenge was to use the doctrine in their souls to adjust to the justice of God and become occupied with Christ.
The foreskins of their heart referred to the arrogance skills, scar tissue of the soul, and reversionism. It is never too late to recover as long as you are alive. But if you continue rejecting doctrine, you will completely cover your consciousness with scar tissue of the soul.
JER 6:10 says, "To whom shall I speak and give warning, That they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, And they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the Lord has become a reproach to them; They have no delight in it."
The uncircumcised ear refers to the negative volition to Bible doctrine at the point of hearing. People who enjoy doctrine are positive believers, even when they are rebuked. People who do not like doctrine never like to hear any message that rebukes them. When you reject doctrine you become a slave to something in your life. Your values change and you go back to being what you were before and you are far worse than what you were before because you have scar tissue of the soul.
Once you have rejected Bible doctrine and become a slave to the humanistic values of life, you cannot listen to the word of God without reacting and despising doctrine. When you have Bible doctrine circulating in your stream of consciousness, then you have a circumcised heart.
A few principles as we wrap up this point:
1. Abraham's adjustment to the justice of God was related to the power of the faith-rest drill, which he exploited to the maximum. He had an adjustment to the justice of God related to his circumcision and related to resurrection.
2. Moses' adjustment to the justice of God caused him to see the divine solution while Israel could only see the problems. In testing, the believer who has adjusted to the justice of God concentrates on the solution. The divine solution is the only solution.
3. David demonstrated that adjustment to the justice of God is constructed through the testing experience. David had the preparation of killing a lion and a bear that had taken a lamb. The believer who has adjusted to the justice of God acknowledges that the only true hero for any crisis is our Lord Jesus Christ and advances to occupation with Christ.
4. Jeremiah's adjustment to the justice of God caused him to keep teaching doctrine in spite of three generations rejecting his message. He watched the young men and women of his last Bible class go into slavery because they has refused to adjust to the justice of God.
The adjustment to the justice of God through the daily function of perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine liberates divine justice to provide maximum blessing for a mature believer.
This is something that the average believer will never experience in time because the average believer is not consistent with his daily perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine.