Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Meditations on Law, Judgement, and Grace

Are you a sinner deserving the wrath of God? I would think that many would say no to this question. But, I believe they are being inconsistent with their response if you consider two concepts in our society that these same people would agree with.

  1. Law - The fact that nations have laws indicates that they believe there are actions that are right and actions that are wrong. Some governing body has legislated the law and it holds the citizens responsible to obey them. It really does not matter whether you agree with the rightness of a law, as a citizen of a country, you are required to obey that law. In the same way, God, the Creator and Sovereign of all that is, has also given us His law in the Bible. It does not matter whether we think it is a good law or not, we as a created being under His sovereignty are responsible to obey His law. Now the Bible goes into a lot of detail about the law, even holding every human being, even those who have never read the Bible, accountable to God and without excuse if they break His law (Romans 1-3). Just as in any country, if we disobey the law, we are law breakers. We are, therefore, what God calls us in His word - sinners.

  2. Judgement - If one breaks the law in a country, they must face the consequences of that action by being judged as guilty and suffer the punishment prescribed. As your watch the news, or perhaps have been a victim of law breakers before, the cry of justice is often heard. This simply means that the law demands that a law breaker suffer the due wrath of the state for the unlawful deed. Again, in the same way, God, the law giver, has declared that all those who break His law, will be judged and face His wrath and punishment for their lawlessness. God is holy and requires perfect obedience to His law to escape the judgement of God. The book of Romans tell us that in fact all of us are sinners or law breakers(Romans 3-5). We are guilty through the imputed sin of our first father, Adam, and this inherited nature produces in us acts of disobedience. We break God's law (we sin) because we are sinners to the very core of our being. So, once again, in the same way that governing bodies punish law breakers, God also will punish law breakers. He will judge them guilty and punish them appropriately. To sin against an infinite and holy God, requires an infinite punishment.

While the comparison is there, what we see in the governments of men is subject to the weaknesses and frailties of men. Is the justice of men really blind? Can men really know and punish every law breaker? But God is by nature just. He defines what justice is. And God sees every thought and intention of the heart, hears every word spoken, and sees every act committed. If one is honest and consistent, one can not really say that they do not believe they are not sinners and do not deserve the eternal wrath of God. It is a hopeless situation for one to be under that wrath of God. No amount of good works will ever make one right with the law giver. The sin must be punished. If God does not punish it, he is not just. But many today rest on the thought that their good works will make them right with God - a fact that overlooks the vileness of sin and the holiness of God. Others rest on the thought that God will just forgive and forget their sin just because - a fact that overlooks the complete justice of God. Face it, you are a law breaker deserving the full judgement and punishment for your sins, an eternal punishment of never ending suffering and wrath poured out on sinners in pure justice. There will be no excuses for God know and sees all. Is there any hope?

"But God" - a glorious phrase found often in the Bible. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:8. Yes there is only one hope. God must and will punish every act of sin. But, He has provided a substitute, Jesus Christ, His Son, who live a perfect life and did not deserve the punishment of sinners which is death. But Christ did die a sinner's death. And the Bible tells us He did it in the place of all those who would abandon any hope in themselves and put their full hope, trust and faith in Christ alone. For those who do, God credits the wrath they deserve upon His innocent Son and He credits the perfect righteousness of His Son to them. Through this legal exchange, they, therefore, can stand right with and be declared justified before God with this foreign righteousness that is not of themselves. My plea is that you stop trying to earn or gain any favor with God. You can't do it. It breaks my heart to see those caught up in the hell bound doctrine and lie of works righteousness. Flee to the only one who can help. Abandon yourself to Christ. His promises are true. He will forgive the law breaker if you will trust in His substitutionary work alone. It is not faith and works. It is faith alone. For a better summary of this good news, read this site.

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