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Agree with Thine Adversary   

Jesus said,

Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. (Matthew 5:25)

These words present a metaphor for the path of man's life, a path along which man, as the accused, is being dragged by his adversary. The adversary is man's conscience, which acts as the prosecutor. "Whiles thou art in the way with him" refers to the time before you come to stand before the judge, i.e. the judgment seat of God. In other words, it refers to the course of man's life. These words apply to everyone who is born into this world. This is just as it says in First Kings:

I go the way of all the earth... (1 Kings 2:2)

The judge is God, the Lord of the judgment, and the prison refers to Hell. The Bible tells us to "agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him," before you arrive at the judgment seat. This means that we are to be reconciled with the accuser within us, our conscience, while we are still living in the flesh - either before we die or before Jesus comes again to this earth. In Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27 it says,

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

The judge is waiting for us at the court, but if the prosecutor drops the lawsuit the judge can't pass sentence against us. Agreeing with your adversary, that is your conscience, means coming to a realization of the truth and thus being freed from your sins. In Romans chapter 2 verses 14 through 16 it says,

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

In other words, anyone who is troubled by his conscience will have to face the final judgment. From one corner of your conscience you hear the voice of the accuser telling you, "That's wrong," "That's a sin," "That was a lie," while from another corner you hear the voice of the defense eagerly trying to justify your actions. These two voices are fighting with each other. In Genesis chapter 4 verse 10, God said to Cain,

The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me from the ground.

Man can't escape from the voice of his own conscience as it accuses him constantly before God. Cain was afraid of God hearing the voice of his conscience, so he fled from the presence of God. Cain's descendants also tried to block out the accusing voice of their conscience, and so they made lyres and pipes, cultivated the land, and began to forge implements made of bronze and iron.

These days people employ all kinds of measures in their attempts to flee from the accusing voice of their conscience. They throw themselves into the pleasures of this world, they seek the glory of this world, or they try to hide themselves away in the midst of battles and wars. Yet their consciences remain as uneasy as ever. They look for ease and comfort but they can't find it. They seek happiness but without success. Pilate washed his hands of Jesus' crucifixion. Judas threw the thirty pieces of silver down in the temple and went and hanged himself. He was unable to bear the agony in his conscience. The moment Judas saw the innocent Jesus condemned to death, his heart was released from Satan's grip and his conscience became active once more.

Similarly, many people today commit sins and then employ various methods in order to defend themselves and hide from the accusing cry of their conscience. Then they push the memory of their sin deep down into an obscure corner of their heart. As the memory of the sin fades away, they don't think about it anymore and they carry on with their lives as though nothing had happened. For some people the memory of such sins returns when they go to gatherings such as revival meetings. Then their hearts begin to trouble them and they weep floods of tears. Such tears may be an expression of repentance, but they may also be used as a person's attempt to justify himself. There is nothing wrong with weeping over your sin, but then Satan comes along and tells you that now everything is alright since you have wept. Thus you are reassured and feel better. But that sin is actually still there, hidden away under a covering of fig leaves.

People sing the hymn, "Weeping Will not Save Me," but don't really give much thought to what these words mean. They pray, often in floods of tears, and then they sing this hymn. In the meantime their sins are piling up in a secret storehouse. The prophet Jeremiah was referring to this secret store of sins when he wrote,

For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God. (Jeremiah 2:22)

Sins can't be washed away with soap. Neither can they be washed away through any kind of religious rites. Many people don't realize that the sins that stand between God and their conscience can't be washed away with detergent, soap, or religious rituals.

Every sin that you commit goes before God, who is spirit, and there it remains even though it's out of human view. At the same time, those sins taint your conscience, that is to say your spirit, through which you need to connect with God.

Suppose two people fight, and one slaps the other on the cheek. Even though the person who deals this blow may soon forget about it, the one who received the blow will remember it for a long time. The sin will lurk deep in his heart as he waits for a chance to take his revenge.

A sin once committed doesn't just disappear; it remains before God. Man's spirit also stands before God, but sin gets in the way, preventing him from drawing near.

Sin is a violation of God's law. Therefore any actions we have committed that have troubled our conscience even in the slightest have been quietly noted in God's records. Even though we may have forgotten what we have done, those actions that have thus been recorded will be brought up for judgment before God who judges the secrets of all men.

 

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