Westbrook Park United Methodist Church
- What Does Your Forgiveness Cost?16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the Lord to look and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them.” 23 And Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and consecrate it.’ ” 24 And the Lord said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest he break out against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.Many of you will remember the hit and run driver in Los Angeles who plowed into a mother and her baby in a stolen car last year. The incident was caught on video, and it was frightening if you saw it.The young man who was driving the stolen car was killed this week in a shooting in Los Angeles. When the mother who was hit by this man was told of his death, this is the statement she made:“The universe delivered the justice we weren’t given in court, but a much harsher punishment than he’d have bbeen dealt in a court of law.”Because of current trends in sentencing law, this young man did not receive the sentence that this mother, the victim, thought he should have recieved.When we are wronged, we feel as if a debt has been created- to us. And no matter what any of us think, justice will not be served until that debt is paid. And for most people, our understanding of justice is skewed because we were injured. We really are not supposed to be the jury, but if we have our way we will be both judge and jury.Blood clots- pizza, donuts and a book from the doctor an dhis wife/daughter.It is our sense of righteousness that does this to us.In the OT, God was viewed as a God of holiness AND justice. And when you understand what that means- God is not a good God because He is holy- He is a perfect God.Look at Leviticus 11.44-4544 For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. 45 For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”2 “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.God is perfection, and His holiness expects perfection.-We are doomed! But not only is he holy, He is just. See Genesis 18.2525 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”This is the plea that Lot made to God concerning Sodom and Gomorrah.And because He is just- he must punish all wrong doing. Sin must be dealt with, and because it must be dealt with perfectly because God is holy- well, how could He ever forgive any of us? Not because He is so holy, but because we are so sinful and sin must be dealt with.BUT JUST AS IMPORTANTLY, GOD’S JUST NATURE REQUIRES THAT THOSE WHO ARE NOT SINNERS MUST NOT BE PUNISHED FOR SINLook at Exodus 19.23-2423 And Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and consecrate it.’ ” 24 And the Lord said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest he break out against them.”God’s very nature of holy and just means he cannot overlook sin or evil.6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”And so, just who and what is God? Is He a lover or a hater? And if you ask that question, you’ve asked the wrong question (Yes, I asked it).The answer depends on your perspective and how you see God. And much of that depends on who we are (and have been) and our perspective.The windows in Ed’s sunroom changed when I went back there after many years.Many of us struggle with an angry/wrathful God as He is portrayed in the OT (in spite of the fact there is much talk about forgiveness in the OT).See John 3.16-1716 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.God’s love and anger(wrath) are not in opposition ot each other- they NEED each other.God is both the God of love and anger/wrath. If you can’t see that, you likely can’t see anything in life correctly. You certainly will not see forgiveness correctly.If your God is all love- you will live as a spoiled child.If your god is all anger- you will live as an abused child.But put them together- love and anger- and you will see God’s love expressed.See Matthew 22.36-4036 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”Anger is not the opposite of love- hate is. And God does not hate us because we sin- he is angry because wedo.Think of the parent of a drug addict. They don’t hate the child; they love them but they weill be angry about the drug addiction.... because they love the addict who they see as their own child.Jesus’ Death Is God’s Love For You Expressed In His Anger At SinThe only place where God’s forgiveness makes sense is on the cross.Jesus’ Death Is God’s Love For You Expressed In His Anger At Sin-Hebrews 7:2525 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.Jesus’ Death Is God’s Love For You Expressed In His Anger At Sin- 1 John 2:2;2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.Jesus’ Death Is God’s Love For You Expressed In His Anger At Sin-Romans 8:34-35-34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?Jesus’ Death Is God’s Love For You Expressed In His Anger At SinChrist, on the cross, becomes our legal advocate.And the law that condemned us now demands that we be accepted.Jesus’ Death Is God’s Love For You Expressed In His Anger At Sin- 1 John 1:9-9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.God is just- even in His forgiveness.
1 John 1:9ESV
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