We took the kids trick or treating... Norah was a chicken and Anna wanted to be a duck... it was a foul Halloween...
How many times has something bad happened in the middle of your day and the first thing you do is think back on your recent sins in order to figure out why this bad thing is happening? You know what I mean? You get a flat tire or get caught at a red light when you’re running late and as soon as you ask yourself, “Why is this happening?” You remind yourself of how you talked about so-and-so behind their back yesterday and you figure, “Well, this stinks, but you’re right God, I deserve it.” When I was in high school and found myself staring down at some pop-quiz I was clueless about and would surely fail, I went through my mental rolodex trying to figure out which sin I was being punished for.
The really bad thing about exercising this particular bit of whacky theology is when you reverse the process… Basically, that’s where you decide whether or not you’re going to commit a certain sin by trying to figure out in your head if this moment of rebellion will be worth the resulting punishment God will surely bring down upon your head. Now, not only is this impossible because we are incapable of appraising the value of our own sin, but it’s just downright anti-gospel! It is just another way for us to feel like we can do something to even out our record with the Lord… as if bad weather or poor driving conditions were an even trade with anger or lust.
The crazy thing is that I know the Gospel! I know I can’t earn credit with the Lord by suffering for my sins! I know He doesn’t owe me anything like sunny days and a big, fat tax return; and yet, when the new episode of House got canceled because of a stupid baseball game, I just knew I deserved this and my mind started searching the vast catalogue of sins for that one that roughly weighs the same as suffering through disappointing television… I don’t think I’m alone either. In fact, I asked our high school kids this very question the other night and a bunch of hands went into the air… we know the Gospel; and yet, there are times when we don’t… that’s why we need to hear it all the time.
This morning, I was reading Psalm 103 which says, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
Isn’t that awesome!? See, if God punished us for our sins, we would be dead! Lost! Without hope! If God gave us what we deserved, we would be hosed! Getting your wallet stolen or breaking your wrist isn’t an equal punishment for telling a little white lie or complaining about your insurance premiums. The truth is that we could never pay for our wrong stuff and live to tell the tale! God paid for us in the person of Jesus. If you have believed in Him, He paid for all of your wrong on the cross so that the punishment for your sin has already been taken care of. Jesus was punished for my sin and because of that, God doesn’t punish me for it, and He never will.
We don’t know why bad stuff, frustrating stuff or even tragic stuff happens to us, but it’s not because we’re being punished for our sins. God isn’t punishing you and He never will! So, the next time you stub your toe, drain your battery or get a bad cold at just the wrong time, don’t think about your old sins… just pick your feet up when you walk, get out the jumper cables, grab some Sudafed and thank God for the blood of Jesus.
Here's a pic of Rosie at the zoo... sitting on a gigantic, painted stone frog
3 years ago