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What the Bible says about Reciprocity Principle
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Jeremiah 39:17-18

God recognizes that Ebed-Melech is no superman, but like everyone, is fearful in the face of mortality. He overcomes his fear, subordinating it to his conviction that Jeremiah is God's spokesman. It is his trust in God that empowers him to show mercy by speaking up for—and then by acting on behalf of—Jeremiah.

God, who "shows no partiality" (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11), answers in kind, characteristically granting mercy to the merciful, more specifically in this instance, granting mercy to him who "receives a prophet in the name of a prophet." Christ makes it plain that God is resolute in His promise of reciprocity (Matthew 10:41-42).

Using a different image, Solomon says the same: "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days" (Ecclesiastes 11:1).

God is adamant: What goes around, comes around.

Charles Whitaker
Servant of God, Act One: Going Around, Coming Around

Haggai 2:11-14

God is teaching us through Haggai that the uncleanness of this world can be transferred from one person to another, but holiness cannot!

In like manner, preparedness for God's Kingdom cannot be transferred from person to person, because in this lesson, it represents something internal—a matter of the heart. It is an intangible spiritual thing that accrues as a result of spending long periods of time learning, understanding, and honing one's spiritual skills. It is too late when a skill is needed immediately, and it is not there.

The same is true of character. It cannot be borrowed or lent. We cannot borrow a relationship with God. It is non-transferable as holiness is non-transferable. This teaches us that opportunity knocks, and then it passes.

The foolish virgins of Matthew 25 failed to face the possibility that the bridegroom might come later than expected. When they were awakened by the shout, there was no time to do anything except to fill their lamps.

Nobody can deliver his brother. Each person within his relationship with God determines his own destiny. The Laodicean's faith has become perfunctory (Revelation 3:15-19). He attends church and is involved socially with brethren, but in daily life and private times, he merely goes through the motion in much the same manner as the Israelites in Amos' day (see, for instance, Amos 5:1-27).

God shows that those unprepared are not admitted to His Kingdom, but this should not be construed as a callous rejection of a person's perhaps lifelong desire. For, unless the Laodicean repents, he has rejected the Kingdom of God on a daily basis—day after day declining to do God's will, even though it is in his mind to desire the Kingdom. He is not taking care of business, so God gives the Laodicean what he shows by his life what he really wants.

This is the principle of reciprocity. It is similar to an unmarried person who, despite surface appearances to the contrary, never makes preparations for his or her coming marriage. Suppose a man meets a woman who could become his future mate, but even though there may be admiration on his part, the relationship never develops because the woman does little or nothing to show her own admiration. A Laodicean is like this woman, rarely showing any affection for God, too busy to deepen the relationship.

We have to seek God—that is our part. It cannot be casual. It has to be zealous. Is that not what God says to the Laodicean? "Be zealous and repent" (Revelation 3:19).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Laodiceanism and Being There Next Year


 




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