What is godly jealousy?

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Godly jealousy

The Lord shows godly jealousy when people take something that rightly belongs to Him as the Creator and give it to another entity that leads them to destruction. People often get lured by evil and idolatry. And the Lord refuses to share His glory with idols or anything that leads souls away from the source of life (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11).

The second commandment states: “You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:5 also Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24). The Lord declines the worship and service of a divided heart (Exodus 34:12–15; Deuteronomy 6:14, 15; Joshua 24:15, 19, 20). Jesus Himself said, “No man can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).

God’s infinite love for humans

God appreciates the love of His children, and feels deeply any lessening of their affection for Him. And He pleads with them saying, “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:31). And He sends His prophets with messages of love, “As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’” (Ezekiel 33:11 also Zechariah 8:2).

Paul jealousy for the believers

Moved by God’s spirit of love for the lost, Paul reached out for the Church in Corinth, who for a time, had transferred its affections from Christ to falsehood. He wrote, “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2). The apostle compared his jealousy over them with that of a bridegroom toward his beloved. Paul feared that the false teachers that came to the church might lead the Corinthians astray as the serpent seduced Eve (Genesis 3:1–11; John 8:44; 1 John 3:8).

Seek the lost

Godly jealousy is the fruit of true love (1 Corinthians 13:4–7). The Lord wants His children to move with His compassion to reach for sinners. Ezekiel wrote, “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick” (ch. 34:16). Without this love, a Christian can’t have a genuine spiritual experience for the goal of Christianity is the saving souls to the eternal kingdom (Luke 19:10; 15:4). The Bible Teaches, “Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).

Unholy jealousy

Unlike godly jealousy, unholy jealousy is carnal. It desires to satisfy the lusts of the flesh (2 Timothy 3:2). It is often built on covetousness (Mark 7:22; James 4:2) and desires that which belongs to others. Thus, through unholy jealousy, people seek their own desires without living for God. This was the spirit of Satan who even though he was merely a created angel, sought to exalt himself to be like the Creator (Isaiah 14:13-14). By contrast, Godly jealousy makes a Christian seek “the good of his neighbor” (1 Corinthians 10:24) and His Creator.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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