Genesis 23-24 / Matthew 7

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11


Knowing that judgment is God allowing us to experience the consequences of our sin, we might wonder what God’s purpose is for judgment. Why must there be consequences for sin? Could God not just forgive us and accept us as we are?


These questions require us to understand God’s character and what His judgment is meant to accomplish. Our God is a holy God, perfect in every way, who hates treachery, violence, cruelty and all other sins because they corrupt His creation and His relationship with us. Sin stands for everything God does not, and it would be wrong for Him to ignore sin as if it never happened. We would not like a world where the Judge of all allowed murderers and rapists to be arbitrarily excused for their crimes.


This is why Jesus’ death on the cross is not first and foremost a reflection of God’s love and mercy, but a reflection of His justice. The only reason we can receive forgiveness is because Christ stood in our place and received our judgment. But while this answers how Jesus deals with the final judgment for those who believe in Him, it does not answer why we continue to experience judgment now. If we are forgiven, why do we still suffer consequences for our sin?


Even though Jesus restored our broken relationships with God, we strain those relationships every time we participate in sin. But God, as a loving Father, is patient with us and seeks to restore His relationship with us every time we strain it. The writer of Hebrews explains, “The Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone he accepts as His son” (Hebrews 12:6). God’s judgment does not express hatred, disappointment or condemnation, but is proof of His love and desire to bring about restoration for all of us. Instead of rebellion and anger, we can be encouraged and grateful for God’s judgment as it is His means of getting us back on track and restoring us to Himself.


There are basically two responses to God’s judgment. We can harden our hearts and blame others for our sin or we can become broken before God, confess our sin, and allow Him to bring about reconciliation. God never promised us a sinless life this side of heaven, so throughout our lives we must choose either a heart soft and pliable for God to work in or a heart set in stone against His judgment. We are never closer to God than when we come before Him with a contrite heart, humbling acknowledging our sin and seeking forgiveness as well as His strength to live every day in a spirit of repentance.


PRAYER: Lord Jesus, forgive my sin and straining my relationship with You. Thank You for disciplining me, and keep me in a spirit of repentance that draws me closer to You. Thank You, Lord.

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