“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).
Tonight, I am writing the continuation of Grace, Misguided: Part One. This post was inspired by the third chapter of Matthew. I decided recently to slow down how much scripture I read in a single sitting, in order to dedicate more time to prayer and meditation. I was really surprised at how much the Holy Spirit spoke in just a single chapter, granted this is the chapter Matthew recounts the Lord’s baptism. And as I organized my thoughts, unbeknownst to me at the time, I was writing a second part to my pervious post.
In reference to Jesus, John the Baptist declares to the Pharisees and Sadducees, as well as to the others, assembled that day, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:11-12). Read Matthew 4, and don’t just meditate on the words written, but consider also how the message is presented. There are no accidents nor coincidences, and this isn’t the last time we see these themes, together with similar imagery, reiterated in scripture. From the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares later in Matthew 13, to the Parable of the Wedding Banquet in Matthew 22, to the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, I find it amazing, not even into chapter four, and scripture already proclaims the good work of God’s unfathomable grace, fulfilled in Jesus Christ, before his earthy ministry really got off to a start.
But brothers and sisters there is hope. The following is an excerpt of Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary (concise), on Christianity.com:
True believers are as wheat, substantial, useful, and valuable; hypocrites are as chaff, light and empty, useless and worthless, carried about with every wind; these are mixed, good and bad, in the same outward communion. There is a day coming when the wheat and chaff shall be separated. The last judgment will be the distinguishing day, when saints and sinners shall be parted forever. In heaven the saints are brought together, and no longer scattered; they are safe, and no longer exposed; separated from corrupt neighbors without, and corrupt affections within, and there is no chaff among them. Hell is the unquenchable fire, which will certainly be the portion and punishment of hypocrites and unbelievers. Here life and death, good and evil, are set before us: according as we now are in the field, we shall be then in the floor.
The Bible acknowledges that there are unbelievers who, relative to human standards, are good people. God’s common grace prevents all people from acting as badly as they could, and by the same token, lends to people engaging in acts generally held as good, even selfless and heroic. Otherwise, the human race would have likely destroyed itself long ago, and the enemy wouldn’t have a basis on which to argue that the capacity to be worthy lies within ourselves. But Hebrews 4:13 reminds us that God looks in the heart: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Those who do evil hate the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be made plain (John 3:20).You see, among other things, I’ve found that grace forces us to bring our state of moral bankruptcy, no matter who we are, out into an uncomfortable light, and grace affords us no opportunity to boast in ourselves. No wonder we struggle accepting this free gift from above. No wonder many of us reject the light all together, because deep down we prefer our rebellion, our independence, if you will. Indeed, Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world (John 3.16), but his presence certainly brought judgment and division: “gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff ” And in that… I see God’s grace revealed.
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