GOD WILL REPAY ALL . . . . The good, the bad and the in-between

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God,and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.” (Reference: 2 Corinthians 5:10-11 )

Just as the writer of the gospels and epistles believed, the historic Anabaptists believed that the time of judgment would be coming soon. And if that was coming soon, then all who wished to repent should do so quickly. Jan Wouterss encouraged his accusers to make themselves right with God before the time of judgment. The irony is that his accusers thought it were people such as Wouterss and other historic Anabaptists who were living wrongly.

Wouterss said, “If I must innocently suffer for this unadulterated faith, I can think, that my Lord Jesus Christ, whose servant, I poor, sinful man am, fared no better at the hands of the authorities of that day and this through the instigation of the learned. O my honorable lords, repent, amend your ways and your doings. Jer. 7:3. And I also proclaim repentance of all my lords still living, who are guilty of the innocent blood of Joris de Ve, [Joris Wippe, who was put to death 1558] who shall soon come forth, shining in God’s glory, with great joy. For the day of the Supreme Judge is at the door: this is apparent from the pestilence, dearth, rumors of wars, and many other signs. O my honorable lords, be cordially warned of the evil which is to come upon you, for it is done out of love and friendship, and not through bitterness, for beyond doubt, we must all appear before the Supreme Judge; there every one shall give account of himself, and receive according to that he hath done; there excuses or regrets will not avail. Rom. 14:12; 2 Cor. 5:10. Oh, reflect; it will soon come to pass, and none can escape it.”

There is an authenticity in Wouterss statement that is compelling. He stakes his sincerity on the fact that all will be judged by God, and if his motivations in encouraging his accusers were not pure, he will be judge by God in that regard. And this resonates deep within me. How we spread God’s word and the attitude/motivation we have to spread God’s word is just as subject to scrutiny and judgment as how we life and organize our own lives. It is no wonder we need the support and intervention of the Holy Spirit to live well and wisely!

May you beloved live your life such that the judgment and scrutiny of God will bare witness to your to dedication to a Godly life. Selah!

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The Third Week of Advent: Our Response

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22)

There are many things to do during the season of Advent; planning, shopping, decorating. And then more decorating, planning and shopping! It seems like a whirlwind of activity, especially as Christmas day draws nearer and nearer! But do not, beloved, forget to do the same thing with your soul, spirit, and faith! Plan each day to spend time in scripture, meditation, and prayer. That is like planning, decorating, and shopping for your faith. And since this Advent season has the theme of re-commitment and renewal, it is especially important.

May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

The whole over arching theme of Advent and Christmas, regardless of the lectionary year and theme, is that we are not alone! God saw humanity’s despair and sent Christ to renew and redeem all people. While we talk about “waiting” for Advent and Christmas, we really are not waiting for Christ at all! We are just remembering how alone we were before Christ. And we wait for the moments to celebrate what has happened. But as the writer of 1 Thessalonians tells us, there are many things we can do now without waiting, and God will gift us now and in the days and weeks to come. May you find balance, beloved, in the waiting and anticipating and in the doing of spiritual practices now! Selah!