Pungent Truths

By William B. Rose


Topics Beginning with "Z"

637 -- ZEAL, Intemperate

     Our zeal for the cause of God is always to be suspected when it takes the form of zeal against an individual. We must see to it that our hatred for heresy does not spring from a spirit of envy or jealousy towards the suspected heretic. Not but that it may sometimes become our duty to call offenders to account. But it should always be done in a spirit of meekness and of genuine compassion towards the party against whom complaints are made. We should always be ready to receive explanations. Whitehead wisely says, "immoderate zeal is always to be suspected; especially when it appears in pursuing such measures as tend to injure or ruin an individual. A bad cause which originated from hatred or malice, will almost always be carried on with more intemperate zeal and bolder measures than a consciousness of acting right will ever produce. The pursuit of any end in view, when governed by the passions, is always more violent than when directed by reason and truth."

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638 -- ZEAL Tempered by Grace

     Jehu was full of zeal, but it was not of the right kind. He was more ready to slay, than he was to pray. He was death on one form of idolatry, while he practiced it in another form. He slew with the sword the worshipers of Baal, but he himself worshipped the golden calves. "But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin" (2 Kings 10:31). Yet he boasted of his piety. To one of God's servants he said, "Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord." We must be careful that we do not serve Jesus with the zeal of Jehu. Our uncompromising zeal for the truth must proceed from grace and not from grit. We may drive fast, but not furiously. We must tell the truth; but it must be in love. We must not ourselves practice in substance what we condemn in others. We must be firm, but kind.

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639 -- ZEAL Must Result from Union with Christ

     No amount of zeal for any reform, however needful, can take the place of personal union with Christ. Whatever we do, if we would gain Heaven, we must have the Spirit of Christ. Jehu was a valiant soldier, a radical reformer. He executed faithfully the judgments of the Lord against the wicked house of Ahab, yet failed to walk before God with a perfect heart.

     We must see to it that we are not reformers after that sort. We must ourselves follow the rules of holy living which we lay down for others.

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640 -- ZEAL: Not for Notions, but for Christ

     Indifference in the cause of God is dangerous. Luke-warmness is damning. An almost Christian is altogether out of Christ. We must be full of faith and love, and full of burning zeal for the cause of Christ. But we must see to it that our zeal is not for our notions, but for Christ. and for the salvation of souls. Dr. Stephen Olin says: "Individuals, and sometimes churches, are zealous in trifles, or even mischief. There is a zeal of God, yet not according to knowledge. This does not condemn high degrees of zeal, but its misdirection. The more we know of divine things, the more zealous shall we be. The Jews had zeal, not for the truth, but for their sect. Men are often zealous for sect, especially for peculiarities -- for trifles which come to fill the mind. It is natural to be zealous in false notions of religion; and he who takes a notion, a ceremony, for Christianity, must swell it into monstrous dimensions in order to satisfy his own mind. The more trivial the notion, the greater need of zeal. True zeal seeks benevolent ends by lawful means -- else it is fanaticism. It seeks practical ends by wise means -- else it is enthusiasm."

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641 -- ZEAL, Properly Balanced

     We can not by our zeal for one class of Scriptures atone for our neglect of other Scriptures of equal importance. This was the fault of the Pharisees. They laid great stress on little things. They were careful to tithe everything they raised, even down to garden vegetables. They were exceedingly scrupulous about their dress. But they paid but little attention to what the Bible says about having right affections towards Cod and our being governed by right principles in our relations with our fellow men. Did Christ commend them for this? On the contrary, he poured upon them the strongest denunciations. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law."