Ruth: 1:20-21; The doctrine of bitterness, part 14 - rejecting God's grace will result in bitterness.

Title: Ruth: 1:20-21; The doctrine of bitterness, part 14 - rejecting God's grace will result in bitterness.


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


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


Eagerly pursue (present active imperative) peace and sanctification. Sanctification (holiness or set apart) is the life of righteousness in thinking and conduct.


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. Christ has set us free so that we could live His life with power and joy. For the new creature in Christ this is the only option for life.


If we do not eagerly pursue sanctification we chose to go through life without experiencing His friendship.


Joh 15:14 "You are My friends [philos], if you do what I command you.


Joh 15:15 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. The fact that He desires this is astounding. Why would any of us not want it?


What does friendship with an unseen, unheard, untouched Christ look like?


Yet, you cannot see Him or touch Him, or hear Him, but you can fellowship with Him by faith in the fact that Him, His presence within you and upon you, and His close relationship to you is a reality. You can fully learn of His mind and converse with Him about it. You can know Him and love Him and you can know by faith that He knows you and loves you. He calls you brother and wife.


1Jo 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life — 


1Jo 1:2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us — 


1Jo 1:3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.


1Jo 1:4 And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.


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.


1Jo 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.


1Jo 2:4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;


1Jo 2:5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:


1Jo 2:6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.


"To see the Lord is the highest and most glorious blessing mortals can enjoy, but the beatific vision is reserved for those who are holy in heart and life." [F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews]


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


Holy is a life set apart unto Him, unto your intimate Friend. So then, as those who pursue holiness:


Heb 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;


The failure to appropriate grace during time of suffering or trial causes a root to grow in the soul that has no belonging to the new nature. Bitterness is the product.


It is clear that this is addressed to believers who are free to walk in the grace of God. Coming short of that grace is to fail to think and act in grace when a situation calls for it. We are to abide in virtue at all times. We are to abide in love at all times.


This phrase is found in Deu 29. Moses has summarized the Law and he has given the blessing and the curse.


Deu 29:14 "Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath,


Deu 29:15 but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God and with those who are not with us here today


Deu 29:16 (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed.


Deu 29:17 Moreover, you have seen their abominations and their idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which they had with them);


Deu 29:18 lest there shall be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; lest there shall be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood.


Wormwood - a bitter herb used metaphorically for bitterness of soul and sorrow due to calamity.


The temptation in this case is the idolatrous religions of the pagans and its sensuality and lack of disciplined morality. This temptation is as strong as ever today, and there are many more types of temptation added to it. They surround us and constantly bring negative things that attack our souls and amount to various trials. But we can resist them when we stand firm in faith.


Falling short of grace means the failure on the part of the children of God to apprehend or appropriate grace when something negative comes into their lives. They should draw closer to grace.


The negative thing, negative person, or persecution always temps us to leave the realm of the grace of God and take up a position of vengeance, strife, or contention, and bitterness will spring up, cause trouble, and defile many.


Heb 4:14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.


Our high priest is far above all who may oppose us.


Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.


He was tempted to leave grace when dealing with others and His situations and so are we. He never left grace. When tempted we need to draw near and find help.


But let us not draw near wishing we might find help, but with confidence. We will find help and we will remain in the love of God and we will treat our enemies, our persecutors, our attackers, and all our situations with the grace of God.


Heb 4:16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.


I would personally venture to suggest that one of the bigger points of failure in this is to not diligently pursuing to remain in the grace of God when dealing with bad situations. It is almost as if, even for a short time, we believe that we have the right to step out of the grace of God to deal with it.

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