-2 Timothy 2:13
It’s true that when we sin, we hurt God. This fact needs to be acknowledged, because the alternative, to say that our sins are already paid for and therefore we don’t need to worry when we sin, is the definition of “cheap grace.” Our sin demands a punishment. God’s standard is absolute perfection, and any violation of that standard demands death. Some have questioned how a loving God could be so legalistic about punishing sin. The answer is simple: The punishment for a crime is as much dependent on the importance of the offended party as it is on the offense. For example, if I were to slap you across the face, chances are you would get offended and yell at me. On the other hand, if I were to somehow walk up to the President and do the same thing, I would instantly be tackled by a hundred Secret Service agents and then spend many years in prison. Same offense, but the importance of the person I offended demanded a higher penalty. You might not think that Uzzah deserved to die for the simple act of touching God’s Ark, but his disrespect was not directed against a fellow human, it was against the almighty God of the universe.
As I said in an earlier post, it’s important to never forget that, when it comes to our offenses against God, that punishment was already served on the cross. Jesus assumed on himself the sins of all humanity, and then suffered the unbridled wrath of God in our place. Theologians refer to this as a “propitiation,” or a paying off of someone else’s debt. When you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your savior, suddenly God no longer sees your sin when he looks at you, but only the perfect redemption bought through his Son on the cross. God can never hate you any more than a parent could hate their own flesh and blood.
I’m about to share a folk tale with you that was taught to me during my studies of the Arabic language and culture which illustrates this point. Be advised: like the Arabic culture itself, this parable is at times violent and depressing.
“How are you, my love?” She said when she saw him.
Without hesitating, the boy seized a poker from the fire, and plunged it into his mother’s chest. He cut out her heart, scooped it into his hands, and ran out of the house to find the place where he had hidden the genie’s lamp. As he scampered down the street, he attempted to cross without being careful, and a horse ran him over, leaving him alive, but battered and bloody beside the road; the heart he carried fell tumbling into the dirt. As he lay there weeping and nursing his wounds, the heart suddenly began to speak to him,
“Don’t cry sweetie. Mommy loves you. Where are you hurt? Mommy will make it better my love. You are my darling son.”
Heartbroken, the boy finally realized what he had done, and began to wail. He had betrayed the truest love he would ever know for a toy.
The book of Hosea tells the story of a man who was wounded and betrayed numerous times by his adulterous wife, and yet God commanded him to continue to pursue her. Hosea even went as far as to buy her back from slavery after she ran away from him, paying a costly price to redeem her from the captivity of her sinful ways. God explains that their marriage is a metaphor for his love for his children in Israel. Though they continually betrayed him and wounded him so deeply, God promised that he would continue to seek them, regardless of the cost.
God is not mad at you. He is desperately in love with you. He will cross mountains and oceans to find you when you run. More importantly, he died for you, shedding his son’s blood as a ransom for your life, so that there would never again be the wrath of betrayal standing between you and him.