FROM YOUR PASTOR’S HEART April 24, 2023
I have witnessed a lot of changes in our world in my lifetime, and not all of them for the better. One thing that is missing in our “modern society” is an understanding that all of our decisions and our actions have consequences. I have been reading from the Book of Leviticus, where God clearly states the laws and the punishments for violating them, in my daily Bible reading. We often excuse ourselves from the Old Testament teachings by saying that we are under the New Covenant of grace, not under the law. And while this is true, God remains the same today as He was in the days of old. Jesus made it clear that He came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it. So, while we do not operate under the old sacrificial system, the expectations of God are unchanged.
Our Holy God remains true to His nature and character. He does not condone our sins or ignore our rebellion against His teaching. The Apostle Paul taught this truth in Galatians 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” What Paul is stating here is that there are logical consequences for the decisions and the actions of men, whether good or evil. We make choices each day that affect our own lives, as well as the lives of others. How can we expect the Lord to overlook our bad decisions and hurtful deeds?
The good news is that God gives us a way of restoring our broken relationship with Him. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to suffer and die for our sins, so that we might have forgiveness, a personal walk with Christ, and the promise of eternal life with Him. That is the message of John 3:16, which we need to be sharing daily with others. The world needs to know that our sins do have consequences, and that is why Jesus died on the cross in our place!
We also need to understand that God’s mercy and grace do not give us a license to sin, but a way to overcome temptation. As a loving Father, God does discipline His wayward children. Even as believers, there are consequences for our errant behavior. We read in Hebrews 12:7, “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?” While we do not enjoy the disciplinary action at the time, we need to know that God is acting in love. We see the results of such discipline in verse 11 of that same chapter: “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Even though the world remains oblivious to the reality of there being consequences for our decisions and deeds, as followers of Christ we know this truth cannot be ignored!
Serving in love, Bro. Jim