Sin and the consequences of it are not popular messages or topics discussed in our day because most people do not like to be confronted with the possibility that they are doing something wrong. People want to be in charge of their own lives without any repercussions for the choices they make. The Bible says, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 14:12 NLT). In other words, a person is free to decide for himself what direction he wants to take. However, pride and lack of knowledge blinds him from seeing clearly and the result of going his own way apart from God is destruction. Again Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV). Many people choose the broad road that leads to eternal destruction and they give little attention to God and His plan for their lives.
There are people who even get upset if someone tries to help them see their error and get them back on the right track. The Bible is full of examples of God using men and women to confront people’s indifference or rebellion against God and offer redemption through repentance and obedience to God. Stephen, a New Testament Believer says this of the Jewish leaders of his day, “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! Name one prophet your ancestors didn’t persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One–the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels” (Acts 7:51-53 NLT). The Jewish leaders were irate with Stephen’s Holy Spirit led rebuke. They were so infuriated that they took him outside the city and stoned him to death (Acts 7:57-60)!
How many of us get upset when God tries to get our attention? When we refuse to listen to the Holy Spirit’s still small voice, God will try other avenues to speak to us through a friend, a book, circumstances or even a preacher.
Unfortunately, many of us will not acknowledge God until our lives are in ruin…if even then.
The whole point of the law of God was to make sin more apparent and bring us to a place where we realized we needed a Savior! The Bible says, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Romans 3:19-20 NLT). God provided a way for us to come near to Him and be made right with Him, not by being a good enough person or by following a bunch of rules. We are made right with God by placing our trust and confidence in God’s Son Jesus Christ. “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:21-24 NLT). There is such freedom that comes to a person when they realize they do not have to be good enough or try hard enough to earn God’s favor. It comes simply by acknowledging one’s need for Jesus Christ and accepting what He did on the cross by faith.
Over the years, I finally came to the conclusion that I could not prove my innocence before God; I was guilty. Instead, I freely admitted when and where I was wrong and asked God to forgive me through Jesus Christ. It was like a ton of bricks was taken off my chest. God loved me just as I was! God was not up in Heaven waiting to punish me with every little mistake I made. He sent His Son Jesus to pay the penalty of sin on our behalf so we could have a great relationship with Him. I am made right with God, not based off my good deeds, but on the finished work of Jesus Christ by grace through faith. He is a loving Heavenly Father who wants to guide us and give us an abundant life (John 10:10). What loving father would not correct his child, to help steer and train him so that he could be ready to contribute to the world instead of taking from it? In the same way, God corrects his children so that they can experience the good things He wants to do for them and through them! “And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, ‘My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and he punishes each one He accepts as His child.’ As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father” (Hebrews 12:5-7 NLT)?
I now embrace God’s correction because I know He loves me and wants me to mature and receive the good gifts He has in store for me. If my father gave me a car with the keys as a gift when I was 3 years old, I would end up killing myself and others because I would not be mature enough to handle this type of responsibility. The same is true with our relationship with God. God desires to give us good things, but only when we have reached a level a maturity that can handle those good things. Will you stop trying to prove your innocence and allow God to correct you? Will you receive God’s discipline as an act of love? God is trying to mature you and grow you up as a responsible son or daughter! Quit trying to resist God and embrace Him. Remember, God loves you and wants to extend mercy and grace, but you and I must come to Him in humility and a contrite spirit, admit our wrong ways and turn in the direction God desires us to go.