Judgment Or Forgiveness?
Often I wish I had the ability to deliver God’s judgment. Perhaps you do too: You know, to the one who cuts you off in traffic or who sticks her cart in front of yours in the checkout line at the grocery store. But these are minor things. What about big-ticket items? Most of us have no mercy for child molesters. We think, “Save the justice system the time and just take them out back and …” “Vengeance is mine” says the Lord (Rom. 12:19; Dt. 32:35). “I’d just like to help Him out,” you say. Yes, I admit, judgment would feel good!
Forgiveness on the other hand is much tougher. It’s hard to forgive, especially when we’ve been hurt. It’s also tough to ask for forgiveness. We become so numb to what we’re doing, we don’t even realize that we need forgiveness. Something bad happened to me recently (that I’d rather not mention) that reminded me of my own sinful nature. The good news I discovered is that God really prefers to render grace rather than judgment.
All of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” But the next verse, 3:17, helps explain why He rendered grace to us: “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (Jn. 3:17 NIV). Paul also wrote this: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Now that’s grace!
We really deserve judgment, but we receive grace. Some of us have forgotten this. God knew there would be times when we Christians would fail Him and have sin in our lives. When we realize this we need to remember what God had the apostle John write: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).
To enjoy all the benefits of God’s grace, we should be obedient. According to Ephesians 2:10 the purpose of His grace in us is to produce good works. We are God’s workmanship, but we aren’t capable of glorifying God in our works when there’s unconfessed sin in our lives.
Some of us are leading dual lives. We look good on the outside, but the sin nature is at work on the inside especially when we think no one is watching. We may be able to fool everyone we come into contact with, including ourselves, but God knows. And though we deserve judgment, God wants to bless us with His grace.
To children I say this: You may think you are fooling your parents, but they know more than you know, and you are simply breaking their hearts. But God knows and wants to give you His grace of forgiveness. He’s waiting for you to realize how much you need it, and how much He loves you. It’s time to return to a right relationship with Him and restore your relationship with your parents.
To parents and my brothers and sisters in Christ I say this: I don’t know what burdens you carry or if the underlying cause of those burdens is sin, but now is the time to do what the writer of Hebrews compels us to do: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16). And Peter wrote this about the true grace of God: “Stand fast in it” (1 Pet. 5:12).
As you rise each morning, and lie down at night, think not only of all the things God has done for you by His grace, but also what you should do to maintain a right relationship with Him. Today is the day and now is the time to get this settled. True confession is healing for the soul. Don’t let this moment pass by.
By Chuck Storm
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org