Thank God we are not a heap of ashes! 1. Do you know people who believe the Old Testament God is exceedingly harsh and not the same New Testament God? 2. Have you ever done something so bad there was just no way you thought God would forgive you? 3. Do you know someone who has committed some disgusting sin and Christians will have nothing to do with that person despite his or her repentance?
Ezekiel 18:21-22—Now if the wicked person turns from all the sins he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is just and right, he will certainly live; he will not die. None of the transgressions he has committed will be held against him. He will live because of the righteousness he has practiced.
The Hebrew word rasha translates guilty one or one hostile to God. One deserves to be smoked who blows sin in His face. God told Ezekiel that he would spare a rasha person if that person stopped sinning and lived righteously. Ezekiel is chocked full of pronouncements of punishment for depraved people, yet here is a passage of amazing leniency. It is this merciful Lover of humanity who appears throughout the writings of the poets, priests, and prophets. For an inconsistent human to label his Creator mutable is like the fool defining Wisdom.
If you answered the second question with a “yes,” this passage should jolt your thinking. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness.” Don’t let Satan beat you up with guilt. Stop dissolving grace with the acid of disbelief. God’s intent is to extend grace not fire. If this were not the case Adam and Eve would be the tiniest footnotes in history for their unhealthy fruit selection. God is full of compassion. If you committed the unpardonable sin, you wouldn’t be reading this. Only if you are not confessing should you be trembling. Only if you hold on to evil should you be afraid.
For question three, if a believer will not forgive a recovering stumbler, a most troubling paradox arises: his tainted flag of legalism flies higher than God’s flag of leniency.
Ezekiel reveals a Father who wants to grant life. Some may say, “But no one could keep all of God’s statues and do what is just and right, so God is setting us up for failure.” Remember, this is exactly why He sent Jesus, to keep what we could not to fix the hopelessly broken!
The strongest argument for forgiveness is the alternative, a permanent state of unforgiveness.—Philip Yancey in What’s So Amazing About Grace?
©2010 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)