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Christian Biblical Studies

 

 

THE COMPASSIONATE EYES

 

Citations are to the New International Version, UK edition (1984)

 

An awareness of being studied influences one's behaviour. Of Jehovah God, the Psalmist writes ʻhis eyes watch the nationsʼ, adding the caution, ʻlet not the rebellious rise up against himʼ (66:7).

 

As Psalm 139 tells us, nothing escapes His attention:

 

2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

 

3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

 

4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. . . .

 

7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? . . .

 

11 If I say, ʻSurely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,ʼ

 

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

 

It is safe to say that more people are worried about being watched by the unseen security agencies than being observed by an unseen God. Nonetheless, their secrets are more secure in the data banks of the latter than the former.

 

Heavenly Embarrassment?

In his short story, A Vision of Judgment (1899), H.G. Wells portrays God as holding sinners in the palm of His hand and scrutinizing them, as an angel ticks off a list of their transgressions for the assembled throng to consider. If they think about it at all, perhaps this is how many imagine the Final Judgement to unfold before the divine throne.

 

This crude picture of humiliation does not do justice to the reality of Judgement Day as taught by the Scriptures. Nor does it capture the essence of divine compassion and restoration of the sinner. For God who sees all and knows all does not delight in exposing our sins, but rather in cleansing us from them and covering them over – obliterating the memory of them. The principle is found in Micah 7: 19, with reference to Israel:

 

You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

 

And Psa. 103:12 proclaims that as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 

To spiritual Israelites – those who trust in Christ as Saviour and King – the joys of repentance and forgiveness are especially precious. The inexhaustible compassion of the Heavenly Father expunges the sinner's transgressions, covering up the dirty rags of one’s fictional virtue with the white robe of Christ's righteousness.

 

Through the miracle of justification by faith we are forgiven, washed clean, and accepted in the beloved Son. There is therefore no condemnation of the believer (Rom. 8:1). For ‘if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousnessʼ (1 John 1:9).

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July-Aug 2018 - no copyright

 

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