As I was reading and studying the Word this morning, I couldn’t help but find myself with a very sobering thought: Judgment begins in the Household of God. No one can escape God’s judgment, “So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God,” (Romans 14:12). The closer the return of Christ is the more we see things in this world unravel. It is important that we remain vigilant in our walk with the Lord. This is not a time to be slacking. This is a time to rise up. Stand up for God’s truth. Do not back down.
The prophet Ezekiel was given a message to the people of Judah. The Temple of the Lord had been defiled. They had chance after chance to repent and turn from their wicked ways, but they still chose to disobey and live lives of evil. God’s mercy and grace gives us a chance to repent. God’s mercy and grace gives us a chance to turn from our evil ways. God’s mercy and grace also provides us with warnings. When we do not heed the warning of God, then we find ourselves in positions where the ax of God’s judgment will strike.
If you are a leader of any kind, you are not exempt from God’s judgment. Those who are in leadership are judged more harshly than those they lead. James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. ” And this is where I find myself saying, “God, never let me go” because verses like this make me shudder. We are responsible to those we lead, those who follow our example. We are either godly leaders or we are leading people to destruction. The leaders of Judah knew this too well. The people should have been able to look to their leaders to learn about the Word of God and they should have seen their leaders living examples of godly lives, instead, they defiled the temple, and the judgment of God began with them. Check out this verse found in Ezekiel 9:6, “‘Slaughter the old men, the young men and maidens, the women and children, but do not go near anyone who has the mark. Now begin at My sanctuary.’ So they began with the elders who were before the temple.” You are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and YOU are sealed with the Holy Spirit. If you are truly living for the Lord, then you will do everything you can such as following the laws of God and His commands so that you do not grieve the Holy Spirit.
Remember in Ezekiel, the glory of the Lord had to leave the Temple because the Temple had become so defiled. The Spirit will not always strive with man. You will either submit to the ways of God now and surrender or you will end up paying the consequences of not serving God. God’s holiness is perfect, and because the Temple was no longer a place the glory of God could dwell, the glory of the Lord left the Temple.
Is there anything in your life that is grieving the Holy Spirit? Are you truly loving God with all your heart? Have you determined to set your face like flint in order to do His will? Are you lukewarm or complacent? Are you backslidden?
I encourage you to resolve to live for God no matter what the cost. It truly is a matter of spiritual life and death. Don’t sacrifice your eternal destiny for the things this world offers you. This world cannot offer you salvation.
Matthew 3:9-10 says, “And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax lies ready at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. ” The ax of God’s judgment is ready to cut any tree at its root that does not bear spiritual fruit. In other words, if you are claiming you have a relationship with Christ but living in whatever way you want, you are a tree that is not producing spiritual fruit.
According to the Word of God, GOD DOES SAVE, and anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. The good news is there is hope for those who are repentant and turn from their wicked ways. There is peace for those who have their minds fixed on God because they trust in Him. Remember to resolve yourself to live for God and follow His commands, His ways.
Heavenly Father, You are the Lord of all Creation. You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are from Everlasting to Everlasting. I surrender to You, O Lord, to live as You would have me to live. Give me the courage to stand up for Your truth and Your ways. Fill me with Your Spirit and give me the wisdom and discernment to know right from wrong. Be my Instructor in all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Linda A. Knowles