Ruth: 1:20-21; The doctrine of bitterness, part 13 - rejecting God's grace will result in bitterness.

Title: Ruth: 1:20-21; The doctrine of bitterness, part 13 - rejecting God's grace will result in bitterness.


Christ came into the world to set us free from the darkness and ugliness of our fallen condition.


Christ came to give us eternal life and that life is sanctified away from the unrighteousness that fallen man is. It is a paradox for a person who has eternal life to conduct himself in the way of the old man he once was. Such a simple connection has too often been lost in Christian churches. Satan, the god of this world, desires for us to suffer and languish in the ways of darkness even though we are children of light.


Rejecting the grace of God will cause bitterness to grow in the heart of a man.


Grace refers to all the gifts of God, which are given without reason, meaning that there is nothing about you or me that motivates God to give. Jesus Christ redeemed us and so the justice of God is satisfied and the heavens are opened to flow unto us the gifts of God. When I understand by faith what I have been given, I will understand that I am complete. It is a real testimony to the depth of our fallen natures that even though all believers are made complete and are taught of that fact, that they still want and lust with the result that the root of bitterness springs up within them.


Standing firm in the grace of God, I will understand how complete and full I am and I will be content.


1Co 16:13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.


1Co 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love.


Stand firm in the faith is to remain in the faith, the articles of what we know to be of the way of our Lord, and to be immovable in all circumstances.


Our main passage for the combination of grace and bitterness is in Heb 12.


I must remind you that Christianity is not comprised of people who read about divine virtue and the way of Christ and then set out to do it. There is a real person inside of you, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and when you set out to do what God has made you to do and called you to do, they are doing things to you and interfering with you in the most wonderful ways.


We set out to do the things of the new man and know in faith that God is doing His wonderful thing inside of us to make it happen.


Heb 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.


"Pursue peace" - eivrh,nh diw,kw [eirene dioko (pres/act/imp)] = pursue, seek eagerly after peace. They were being persecuted by other Jews.


The epistle is written to first century Jews who became Christians. Many of them were the first Christians and were not ashamed of it. Some of their fellow Jews were attending the Christian assemblies in and around Judea, and then were rejecting the gospel and going back to the temple worship. Other Jews had rejected Christianity immediately and were attacking their fellow Jews who were Christians and not hiding it. What is the command to the Christians who were being persecuted?


Seek eagerly after peace with all men is commanded to be a continuous part of our lives.


Mat 5:8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."


Mat 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."


All Christians are sanctified in position. The pure in heart are those who are sanctified in practice. They pursue eagerly sanctification (holiness) and peace with all men.


Failure to do this, no matter how bad or evil the people may be, will result in bitterness among many other sins in the heart. We do not win but lose when we don't walk in love toward all men and eagerly seek to pursue peace with all men.


Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not.


Rom 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.


Rom 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.


Rom 12:17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.


Rom 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.


In a desire to self-justify, some have interpreted "so far as it depends on you" to mean that some people and situations are too hard. This is not the meaning at all.


What depends upon you is the agape love in your heart towards all others, even if they refuse peace.


The other party might refuse peaceful coexistence, and you can do nothing about that, but you must always extend the olive branch of peace.


This shows us why "pursue peace" is a command. The commands from God are given to us in order to protect our soul.


Heb 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.


The Holy Spirit has been challenging us with this a lot lately, namely, seeing the Lord with the eyes of our hearts, and much of that challenge has involved the trials of suffering that we face.


If we do not pursue holiness eagerly, if we do not strive to have pure hearts rather than hearts filled with sin and the filth of selfishness and evil, then there are great parts of the Lord's person that you will not see in this life. It is as if we chose to go through life without His friendship or fellowship.


A sure way to avoid bitterness, and all other sins from the heart, is to go through life in friendship with the Lord.


Joh 15:14-15

"You are My friends [philos], if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you."


The Greek word philos (friend) is an endearing relationship. There is another word used in the Bible that means a comrade or partner, but the Lord is speaking of true friendship which has an element of pleasurable love. He therefore leaves no room for us to be casual friends or acquaintances. We are to be His dear friends throughout our born-again lives. Being His intimate friends would mean that we would have to see Him fully. How could I be intimate with someone I don't really know? This is why His friends do what He commands them. Knowing and seeing Him is synonymous with loving His way, which is loving His commands.

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