I have something that is bothering me and I need to get it off my chest. I am seeing a trend in our world and it is not good. Are you tired of all the politics yet? Are you tired of constant negativity and complaining? Are you tired of people being publicly vilified and cast down as soon as they do anything out of character? Are you tired of the hunting and eventual outing of every public figure who ever desires to do anything meaningful in our world? Well, I am tired. I am tired of people shouting guilt and not grace.
Don’t get me wrong. Sin is sin and it deserves punishment. I just wish we weren’t so good at taking our place at the bench and pounding the gavel. We just aren’t as good at grace as we need to be. Perhaps it is because when others do wrong somehow we feel less guilt ourselves. Perhaps we are comparing how weighty our sins are compared to what we perceive as more accusable and less excusable in others. Maybe it is that we have something to gain from the other person’s mistake, a step up on the ladder of life. Whatever it is we need to do something to turn the tide.
God is good at grace, and aren’t we thankful?! The only one who has the justified authority to cast us out has instead chosen first to forgive. For example, consider this passage:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
You might note very quickly that there are some things in this passage that God says are clearly sinful that our world now denies as sinful or wrong at all. You might also want to note that those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God. You might want to finally note that there is no distinction made as to one of these practices being worse than another, but that the same punishment is going to be given for all of them. So there is plenty to consider here about sin and its consequences. Sin is serious business.
And then there is the last part of this passage: “And such were some of you.” God forgave the fornicator. God forgave the thief. God forgave the homosexual. God forgave the drunkard…God forgave everything as well as everyone who made the decision to stop practicing sin and be His obedient child. And He made no distinction. He clearly and fully sanctified and cleansed each person who became a part of His church by being baptized into the redeeming blood of His precious Son.
They were justified! What does that mean? It means they were made righteous even though they had been unrighteous. “Justified” = “just if I’d” never sinned at all. That’s God’s grace. It relieves us from the weight of guilt. It gives us hope. It sets us free from judgment and our bad choices. And God is extremely good at grace…so good that His arms remain as open to our forgiveness today as were the outstretched arms of Jesus when he hung on the cross.
Maybe that’s what we need to be doing, keeping our arms open. Maybe then we would be better at grace.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am…” – 1 Corinthians 15:10
AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum