Well, it has been a long time since I have posted on my blog, and God willing, I will be able to post more frequently. Since I have been away from the keyboard, I have done a lot of reading, listening, and learning. Recently, I just finished R.C. Sproul’s book, The Truth of the Cross (As I am writing this it is FREE for Kindle). I really enjoyed the book because it highlighted some truths about Jesus death that I needed to know. It also was great because it cost me nothing to read it! Anyway, something Dr. Sproul wrote struck me profoundly when he after he discussed our need to be perfect in order to be in the presence of a holy God:
We try to get around the helplessness of this situation in modern culture by declaring that everybody deserves a second chance. -(Kindle Locations 226-229). Kindle Edition.
Today, many churches are talking about how God is the God of second chances. You may be asking, “What’s wrong with that?” And that is a great question. The problem with a second chance is that for corrupt and sinful human beings a second chance would be futile. It is pointless for a holy and righteous God who knows everything to give fallen people a second chance because they will inevitably mess up again. A second chance doesn’t save anyone, it only provides another opportunity to fail. If the standard for being with God forever is perfection, a second chance from God doesn’t equal perfection. Sproul follows his statement with these words:
My response is, “Who says so?” Does justice require that everybody get a second chance? A second chance is grace. It is mercy. Grace and mercy are never deserved. So it is nonsense to say that everyone deserves a second chance. But even if that nonsensical, hypothetical condition were true, what good would it do us? How long ago did we use up our second chance?
Sproul highlights the problem with second chances. We, sinful human beings, will eventually blow that second chance. A second chance from a holy God may be gracious and merciful, but it makes no sense because God also knows that we will trade that second chance in for rebellion.
What you and I need is not a second chance, but a savior. A savior that is perfect, holy, and upright in the sight of the Father. We need a savior that can take our place and stand on our behalf before the Creator of heaven and earth. Thankfully, there is a Savior. His name is Jesus and he is the only one that can save.
For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. -2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV
The only way to God is righteousness. You don’t need a second chance, you need Jesus!
Thanks for reading.
A story out of Norway is causing a stir worldwide. Many people are baffled by the lack of justice that the Norwegian government is showing in the Anders Behring Breivik case. Breivik is accused of killing 77 people on July 22, 2011 in a bombing and shooting rampage. Not only is Breivik accused of these crimes but he has admitted to committing the crimes saying:
I took the gun out and thought it was now or never, and it seemed like a year.
‘It was extremely hard to shoot that first shot, it is contrary to human nature. But after that it became easier,’ he said. ‘To take a human life is the most extreme you can do, but you weigh that against superior motives.’ –NDTV.com
From our perspective this case is open and shut. This man has taken the lives of 77 people and should be punished accordingly. However, what people all around the globe are wondering is why this man’s maximum sentence is only 21 years in prison? Even Breivik showed his confusion over the possible maximum sentence. The Huffington Post reports:
Breivik, himself, ridiculed Norway’s maximum prison sentence of 21 years, saying the only proper outcomes of the case would be death or acquittal.
What this shows me is that even though many people fight for justice we often fail. When we fail the consequences can be horrendous. Sometimes we get it wrong. Sometimes the wrong person goes to prison. Sometimes the right person goes to prison but for not nearly long enough. Breivik is now 33 years old and if he gets the full sentence he could be out of prison when he is 54. That is hardly a punishment that fits the crime. Sometimes we can get it wrong but there is going to be a day when justice will be complete.
God is just and righteous as Deuteronomy 32:3-4 attests:
For I will proclaim the name of the LORD;
ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is he. -ESV
Not only is God just but he will exact his perfect justice:
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness. -Psalms 96: 11-13
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. -Acts 17:30-31
Our world is filled with injustice and this story out of Norway is just one example. It is heartbreaking that this is happening but as Christians we have hope that justice will come. God is patient but he is also righteous and sin will not go overlooked forever. This should be a comfort but it is not a reason for apathy.
God calls his people to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. God calls his people to stand against injustice. God calls his people to be people of justice. We, undoubtedly, will fail sometimes but we should all strive for justice. When we fight for justice we are fighting for God and when we fail we can take heart that justice will one day be carried out fully and righteously.
Thanks for reading.