Fundamentals Of Meditation (Part 4. Proper Concept Of Justice)
Although part of a series, this is a complete study on its own. (Part 4 of 9 in series)
* all [bracketed] words in Scripture verses are mine *
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say Rejoice [make your mind up to be positively joyful]. Let your moderation [gentleness] be known unto all men [learn to moderate your emotions so that you are not known for your temper, etc ]. The Lord is at hand [Do all with an expectation of the Lord's imminent return. Confess and pour out the burden of unconfessed sin ]. Be careful [anxious] for nothing [do not approach these times of meditation with a worried spirit but in faith ]; but in everything by prayer [speaking and fellowshipping with God ] and supplication with thanksgiving [praying knowing that it will be done because you are praying in the Spirit and praying God's will ] let your requests [speaking the desires of your heart ] be made known unto God. And the peace of God [a feeling but more than a feeling, a knowledge ],which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds [keep is a military term meaning "fort", so it assures the safety of your mind, mental stability ] through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true , whatsoever things are honest , whatsoever things are just , whatsoever things are pure , whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report ; if there be any virtue , and if there be any praise, think [meditate] on these things." (Philippians4:4-8)
We have been dealing with the concept of meditation in this nine part series. It began with the Part One article entitled, "Christian Meditation vs. New Age Meditation," in which we looked into the popular notion of meditation methodology and how it differs from the form of focus the Bible teaches called meditation. We saw that the concept of Christian meditation is practiced at the feet of Jesus in a state of brokenness before God, which differs from other practices that focus on the self related to the universe in general and God can be an optional addition or even irrelevant to its workings. After Paul says to meditate, he then breaks down the meditation into eight different areas of spiritual focus. Today's mentality is that there are no absolutes in life and that each person's individual opinion will impact things like the first area of focus, the concept of truth and Things That Are True (Part 2.) Truth, they say, is relative to the person, that my truth is different than anyone else's truth. Of course this is not the case. We do not use a variable for what truth is, but a constant, Almighty God Himself. He plainly says, "I Change not." He clearly tells us the narrowness that is truth, which all must see as a goal for themselves. And yes, we will never achieve that goal until we get to heaven to be with God but it is that standard we use to measure all of the different focuses of meditation. Part 3. of this series is the focus-topic of honesty and we again saw the standard for honesty is in the Person that cannot lie. The Word says it is "impossible for God to lie." Does it not make sense to use that as a basis for the concept of honesty? We emphasized the importance of keeping away from dishonesty and how it muddies the perception of the whole worldview as a person incorporates a manufactured truth into his life.
Welcome back to our series on meditation.
Paul said to think or meditate on "whatsoever things are just." What are things that are just? The word just or justice brings to mind a courtroom or trial. It makes one think of enforcement of the law and payments for crimes. When something is just, it can be tough but overall it is equitable. If a law passes and it is considered a just law then all will benefit from it. Those that violate that law will pay for the violation equally because it effects all. Right? Well, you can always find a person who disagrees with any law or rule or standard or guideline that is set up. "That's not fair!" will be the refrain cried by someone without fail.
Do you know what the word just means? What is "just" to most people is what effects them personally and so they term the thing as "fairness" or "fair." One of the first things a child reasons in his young mind is his own concept of fairness. In many houses in America at this precise second, some youth is saying the phrase, "That's not fair!" To which the parents response is usually, "Too bad, life's not fair! Deal with it!" Such a subjective viewpoint, is the idea of fairness. How many times have you heard people talk of fairness? The concept seems to change with each person's experience. Each person's idea of fairness is how something effects them personally or how that something effects things that they think are important. When you have a history such as a childhood that was less then you think was "average," that will effect your viewpoint of fairness. Community history, family history, personal history, cultural history, all situations that you take up as yours, ideals that you decide to make your own; all of these have an effect on what is thought of as fair.
Justness is not fairness in this sense. Fairness that uses the sin-slanted standard of oneself is not fairness. The book of Judges described a time when there was no law and everyone "did that which was right in their own eyes." (Judges 21:25) To use this standard to create law or to dispense equity or justness will never be possible. To really be fair one needs a standard other than oneself, and to really be just, one needs a standard higher than oneself. That standard would have to be perfect to always decide correctly; to provide equity. That standard would have to encompass time itself, so that things would not be able to change so as to create an inequity over time. It would take someone that is the same always, whose judgments are forever. Could any man fit this description?
"For there is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
The word just used by Paul in Philippians 4 is the Greek word dikalos (dik'-ah-los) which means equitable or fair (in character or action), innocent, holy (which can be in an absolute or relative sense). It comes from the root word dike (dee'-kay) which means justice in judgement, in punishment, in vengeance.
Using this definition of just, only one Person can be seen as the standard for justness, that is God. God is omniscient, which means He is all-knowing. Using His omniscience, He will be just in His judgments and law because He sees all, to take into account all of man, and all that effects man. He is omnipotent, and can enforce each edict that comes from His mouth with power. He is omni-present and is everywhere, to be fair and to give the assistance that He promised to every believer individually. He is omni-sapient, which means God has the ability, yea it is His very nature, to transform any situation, no matter its initial intended purpose, into His perfect will. This gives God the advantage because nothing will "get out of hand" nothing will out-smart or "out-best" Him. No one will create a situation that will get control and trump God. God will always win, always work His will, always get the glory.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
"Tell and bring forth your case; yes let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God beside Me, a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me." (Isaiah 45:21)
"This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." (2 Timothy 2:11-13)
There also is a relative sense in the above definition. It is used in the context of sinful men. In this relative sense, only one type of person can be considered just, and that is the person that has the indwelling Spirit and is justified. In themselves, men are sinners and ungodly. But after each man turns to God and asks HIm into his heart, they are given the indwelling Spirit. Because of this Spirit it is possible for men to be guided into just judgments and a just life before God and men. God cannot see a person's sin through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. A saved man is justified. An easy way to understand justification is this little saying: "Just as if you never sinned and just as if you will never sin again." It is a standing before the Lord, a new relationship.
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey." (Zechariah 9:9)
"For a just man [one declared righteous by salvation] falleth seven times, and riseth up again; but the wicked shall fall into mischief." (Proverbs 24:16)
"The just man walketh in his integrity; his children are blessed after him." (Proverbs 20:7)
"Behold the proud, his soul [his mind, his will, his emotions] is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith." (Habakkuk 2:4)
"For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)
"And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, 'I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.' But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, who are registered in heaven, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect." (Hebrews 12:21-23)
With all this in mind, Paul was saying for us to meditate and ponder over things that we know are just. Think on such things as God HImself, the Person of Jesus Christ, the commandments of the Lord. We need to ponder the promises God has made, the gifts He has given, and the results of the world's sin. We need to think on who we know that needs salvation, for God's justice will fall on them if they do not turn. We need to think on how God's justness will effect our family and what we need to do to walk in our integrity as a just person.
Lady Justice has a scale and this was no mistake on the artist's part considering justice. The original scale was a set of plates that were on a pivoting fulcrum. On one side of the scale a "just and fair" weight was placed, denoting the standard (let's use the pound for an example) for an accurate pound. On the other plate was placed what was to be measured. The weight had to measure up to the standard to be one pound. If it was heavier, obviously some had to be removed. If it was lighter, more was added until it came up to the standard. In this life what is a just and fair estimate of things must be compared to Christ and His word. Lady Justice has a scale because early on people used God's word for judgments of right and wrong, but now our legal system has thought to outgrow the need of a standard for thought and behavior.
Have you ever pondered how you live your life? Some people ponder it by comparing themselves to other people they know. Some see the crimes that people commit and say to themselves that they aren't that bad. But God has a standard that is not our standard. He holds the future. It does not reside in the hands of the neighbors with whom we compared ourselves. We need to see ourselves in the eternal balance of God, see us as God sees us.
There once was a king and he thought he was "just," fine the way he was. He dined and lived the life of luxury and ruled in the satisfaction of his heart. But then something happened:
"Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand.... They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone... In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote... Then the king's countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other... Then Daniel was brought in before the king... [Daniel said to the king] But you his son, Belshazzar [son of Nebuchadnezzar], have not humbled your heart. And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of the house of God before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written. And this is the inscription written: MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians." (Daniel chap. 5:1, 4-6, 13, 22-26)
How do you measure up in the Balances of God's Just-ness? Are you measured and found wanting? What could you possibly be lacking? I submit to you that if you do not know Christ as your Savior that you are destined to be found lacking when your life is measured in the eyes of a Holy God. God offers every person a chance to unburden himself from the sin that weighs him down. If that weight is not removed that person will have no way of erasing an eternal death, an eternal separation from a holy God. Sin cannot get into heaven. Jesus Christ came to the earth to bleed and die for each person's sin. He came so that a person could call out to Him and ask to be free from the bondage of sin.
Why not take a measure yourself? Why wait, when you don't know what a day may bring forth? Why not cry out to God and tell Him that you need a Savior because you cannot save yourself? Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead? Then tell Him you know you are a sinner and that sin separates you from Him and that you can feel the distance between you and God. Call out to Him and throw yourself into His hands. The Bible says that God is "faithful and just to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
If you feel that burden weighing you down and have never prayed to God for salvation, pray this:
Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I know that my life is lacking because I have not asked you to be my Savior. I know that my sin separates me from You and I want to be your child. Please forgive me of my sin and come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. I don't want to be lacking when my life is measured in Your sight. Thank You for dying for me, thank You for being buried for me, thank You for raising the third day for me. I promise to turn from my sin and turn to You as the only Way of salvation. Thank You for being a just God and thank You for saving me. In Jesus' holy name. Amen.
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