Sunday, March 11, 2007

Just a Little More Bad News

In my last post under the label Theology , I wrote a piece called First, the Bad News , concerning the necessity of understanding the bad news of scripture, before you will be able to appreciate the good news (gospel). Unfortunately, just a realization of the bad news, that you are a dirty rotten sinner (just like me) is not the whole story.

The "little more bad news" is, of course neither little in the amount that it is news or in the amount that it is bad. It is both big news, and very bad news. The "little more bad news" is that there is a penalty for breaking the Law of God. Just as our earthly governments set forth penalties for wrongdoing, so the Almighty God also has set forth penalties for breaking his commandments. A big difference is that here in this world we often "get away with" breaking laws. Often we can break the law without anyone ever knowing. Often we are not caught "red handed" and so are given the benefit of the doubt. Often the full penalty of the law is not brought to bear on us, because we are deemed to be a first time offender, or because there are extenuating circumstances.

Not so when it comes to Jehovah's laws though. He sees all of our sins, and knows all of our sins. You are not able to slip anything past God. Even your sins that no other person on earth know about. Psalm 139:1-4 says "O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether." Each of us has been caught red handed by God!

And God, being a totally righteous judge will hand down a perfect judgement. Every sin, every transgression of his law will be punished as it deserves. And there is a judgement coming! 2 Peter 2:9 proclaims "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"

What is this day of judgement all about? The book of Revelation gives us a pretty good description of what will happen. Revelation 20:11-15 says: "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

Does God "grade on the curve"? Can a man's good deeds outweigh his bad, thus allowing him to escape paying the penalty for his sins? Not according to James 2: 10 "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Guilty of all! A just judge will not allow the guilty to go free. Just as we speak of paying a "debt to society", so must the sinner pay a debt to God.

No, this is the "little more bad news"; All of our sins must be payed for in full. Every last one of them. Bad news and more bad news! But if all of this bad news is causing you to despair, then maybe you really are ready for the good news. I know that I am anxious to get to the good news, and will in my next post on this subject.

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