Which Criteria Do You Choose?

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “…I will deal with them according to their own conduct, and I will judge them by their own standards. Then they will know that I am Yahweh.” Ezekiel 7:27 HCSB

Ezekiel is a priest called by God to prophesy during a challenging time for God’s people. The exile to Babylon has started, but is not fully complete. God’s message is being spoken by His prophets and the people are focused on doing things, “their own way.” As a result, God is preparing to allow them to experience the consequences of “their own way.”

The heading of this chapter by the translators is telling, “Announcement of the End.” The beginning of the chapter sounds the same chord as at the end,An end! The end has come on the four corners of the land. The end is now upon you; I will send My anger against you and judge you according to your ways. I will punish you for all your detestable practices. I will not look on you with pity or spare you, but I will punish you for your ways and for your detestable practices within you. Then you will know that I am Yahweh.” (Ezekiel 7:2-4 HCSB)

God’s people then and people today, don’t understand how much God’s mercy provides a protection for their lives. God’s patience and longsuffering is one of His qualities that we too often take for granted. Peter writes and says, “…[God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NIV)

Throughout time people have attempted to justify themselves before the Lord. They exert their “goodness.” I have had people say to me, “I’ve lived a good life and that should be good enough for God!” Really?! They fail to see or understand nor are they willing to submit to God’s ways, insisting instead on their own “plan of salvation.”

Paul wrote to the Romans and said, “God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.'” (Romans 2:6 NIV) In Revelation the Resurrected Christ declares, “I will repay each of you according to your deeds” (Revelation 2:23 NIV) We read of God’s judgment in Revelation, “…for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” (Revelation 16:6 NIV)

But we see another criteria and that is based on not what we have done, but on what Christ has done for us. Paul declared, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– (Ephesians 2:8 NIV) We also read, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy…” (Titus 3:5 NIV) Isaiah spoke of the provision of Christ when he said, “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness…” (Isaiah 61:10 NIV)

When we choose God’s provision and embrace His love and grace, we have confidence in our standing before the Lord. “And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. (1 John 2:28 NIV)

We can be judged by our own standards, or we can be judged based on what Christ has done for us. He lived the perfect life and became the sacrifice for us that we might be “….made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.” (Romans 3:22 NLT) It seems the choice is clear.

Prayer for today…  “Lord, thank You that You have done for me what I can’t do for myself. Through faith in You, I have a right standing before the God of creation. I choose to embrace that and live in the confidence that brings to my life.”