Wednesday, June 09, 2010

An invitation: To believe that God isn't fair...

...and to thank God for that! 

If God were fair, I personally would be in an eternity of trouble. But God is patient with all of us. In the New Testament, the apostle Peter, writing to Christians anxious for Christ's return, talked about not just God's patience, but the purpose behind God's patience: not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.

The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)
Until Christ returns at the end of earthly history, God's patience with human rebelliousness, lovelessness, injustice, and immorality will continue. God is giving the whole Church on earth the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus with others, so that people have the chance to turn away from sin (repent) and to trust in (believe in) Jesus as God, Savior, Lord, and Messiah, the One Who destroys the power of sin and death over us.

Peter goes on to write though:
But the day of the Lord [the day when the risen and ascended Jesus] will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed. (2 Peter 3:10)
The time will come when God the Father will send the Son to draw the curtain on the life of this world. Besides that, none of us can know when the curtain will be drawn on our own individual lives. We dare not presume on the merciful patience of God, as a world or as individuals.

Our call then, is clear: To repent and trust in Jesus while we can and then to live in that characteristic lifestyle of the Christian, as described by Martin Luther: "daily repentance and renewal," daily surrender to the will, lordship, and grace of God, given to all the world through Jesus Christ and His cross.

For the follower of Jesus Christ, self-righteousness will never do. My sins are as worthy of condemnation as any other person's. I am as worthy of everlasting separation from God--of hell--as anyone else. It's only by God's grace that I have hope.

I'm thankful that God doesn't give me what we deserve: First, God shows mercy by affording us the chance to know Christ; second, God passes over the sins of those who surrender to Christ, submitting to God's will for their lives.

Thank God that God isn't fair! But why keep presuming on God's unfairness when you can surrender to Jesus and His grace and begin savoring today, this very moment, an eternal relationship with your loving God.

Jesus said, "“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life" (John 3:16).

If you don't enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus Christ yet, I invite you to explore what such a relationship is like.

One good place to begin that exploration is to read the Gospel of John. You'll get to know Jesus there.

Then, you might want to consider continuing your exploration by visiting a church near you: go to worship, get involved in a Bible study or in Sunday School, make an appointment with a pastor or a priest who will pray with you and help you know Jesus.

Once you get to know Jesus personally, I'm confident that, as was true for me when I was in my mid-20s, you'll want to follow Jesus...and you'll thank God every day that God isn't fair!

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