2005-09-20 - Common Errors, Part 4
Originally Published 2002-12-16
Habakkuk 1:13 Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and you can't look on wickedness with favor.
The third error: "God is too good to punish me for a few faults; true, all are sinners, but the Almighty is very merciful and will be sure to forgive me."
The three other editions of this series can be found on the cfdevotionals.org web site http://www.cfdevotionals.org. This web site is well laid out and has no advertisements. It is a useful tool for Bible study.
We can never presume upon God's mercy simply because God is merciful. The goodness of God is infinite, but so also is the Lord infinitely just, pure, and holy. We see both aspects of God's character discussed together in Exodus 34:6, 7, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished..."
If we view our sins as few and only slight in nature, we must remember that God also regards them, and as a holy God, does not see the slightness of any sin. As the verse we started with tells us, God can't look upon sin with favor. It is foolish to think that because our sins are small, we will be able to conceal them before God. We see this even in our own justice system. Felons are punished, and yet misdemeanors are also. The judge is to uphold the law, and transgression of the law is punished, even in small violations. So it is with God. He has promised to punish sin, and has also stated that the punishment for sin is separation from Him.
The phrase in this error that God will not punish me because, "all are sinners," is simply wishful thinking. It is like to kid telling his parents after violating house rules that, "everybody's doing it," with the implication that therefore he is not guilty of offense. To have this mindset is to have a cold profession of faithfulness, love and commitment to Christ. Christ set the example and died for sin. Knowing that He offers forgiveness for sin should keep us from making sin trivial, and rather drive us to holiness, as we more and more understand that it was our sin that nailed Him to the cross.
We must be resting, for forgiveness of sins, in Christ alone, and not thinking our sins are only minor and not worth being too concerned with. "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble," 1 Peter 5:5. The error that God is too good to punish for a few faults could be restated correctly that God is too good NOT to punish for a few faults. His Holiness and Justice demand punishment.
That is why Christ made atonement for sin. God's holiness required that all sin must be punished. That is where the offer of salvation from sin, in Christ alone, becomes dear to us. Christ offers forgiveness to whoever will come to Him in repentance and faith, not only for the "big" sins, but for all sins.
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6,7
Soli Deo Gloria,