You’re guilty of a crime….and so am I. Every one of us have broken the law and must be punished. If I told you that you had committed a crime against a person and you must go to prison, you would no doubt be devastated. The thought of incarceration and the loss of freedom terrifies us. Even worse, what if you were sentenced to be executed for your crime. Imagine the process: you eat your “last meal”; you say good-bye to your family; you’re strapped to a table; a minister prays with you; then an IV is placed in your arm as the lethal drug is injected……moments later you’re dead. But, you WERE guilty….and thus received the just punishment for you’re crime. What if I told you that you REALLY WERE guilty of a crime and deserved this punishment. No doubt you would scoff and argue that you were innocent. How dare someone accuse a good person like you of such a crime! Well, here’s the reality. You ARE guilty of a crime. Maybe not a crime against man…..but a crime against God. YOU (and I) HAVE BROKEN GOD’S LAW!
AHHHHH, THAT’S what he’s talking about. You breathe a sigh of relief to know that you don’t really have to go to prison or be executed. You haven’t really broke Man’s Law….only God’s…..and after all God is gracious, so I don’t need to fear punishment, right? WRONG. Oh, to be sure, God isn’t going to imprison you in Leavenworth, nor give you the electric chair…..In fact it’s worse….MUCH WORSE…..your crime against God will lead to eternal prison and torment in Hell.
Isn’t it amazing how people shudder at the thought of breaking Man’s Law, yet disregard so lightly the breaking of God’s Law? The fact is God’s Law is MUCH easier to break…..and the consequences are infinitely worse than those for breaking Man’s Law. The Bible says: “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4 NASB) How easily we forget that sinning means you’re breaking God’s law. Which sins? Murder? Adultery? Idolatry? Yes…..and add to that gossiping, lying, gluttony, laziness, disobeying parents, using God’s name in vain, etc. etc. etc.
We have a tendency to disregard our sins as being “little.” While it’s true, the TEMPORAL consequences may differ in their severity, it’s the ETERNAL consequences that are so devastating. For example, if I eat too much dinner and make myself sick, I commit gluttony. If I have an affair, I commit adultery. My wife will show much more tolerance for a glutton than she will an adulterer. The TEMPORAL consequences are much worse for adultery than for gluttony. But in God’s eyes….the ETERNAL consequences for breaking even the smallest of His Laws….are eternal damnation.
If we approach God in this way….knowing how horrible our sin is and knowing the punishment it deserves….then our praise and worship of Him is SO MUCH DEEPER….when we ponder what Christ has done for us.
When we think of God’s perfect standard, we sometimes view Him as harsh. But when we realize that HE HIMSELF took that infinite punishment for us, we will view Him as GRACIOUS….beyond comprehension.
Tomorrow’s sermon will be from 1 John 3:4-6. We will examine the fact that we are Spiritual Criminals deserving punishment…..yet Jesus bore the wrath of God, in our place. We ARE guilty…..yet exonerated. Not because God ignored our sin….but because HE paid for it and punished it on Calvary’s cross.
So think about that as you worship in God’s House tomorrow. You shouldn’t even be allowed to show your face in God’s House….neither should I. We’re guilty sinners, and spiritual lawbreakers……But because of that “Amazing Grace” we NOT ONLY can show our face in God’s House, we’re encouraged (even commanded) to. We can boldly approach His Awesome Throne, as forgiven sinners. His allowing us to show our face….should cause us to fall on our face…..in genuine, deep, heart-felt worship for the God who could have punished you forever…..yet chose to save instead. Celebrate God in worship, as if you were a guilty criminal, paroled by Christ…..because in all reality…..that’s what ALL CHRISTIANS really are. “To God be the glory, great things He hath done…”