“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, . . . forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.”
Sin Won’t Go Unpunished
Have you ever had a caricature of yourself drawn? In a caricature, certain features are exaggerated to highlight them. What physical features would your caricature highlight? Or are you afraid to find out?
Many people have a caricature of God in their minds. They picture a kind, loving, tolerant God who overlooks all but the really serious offenses. He’s like a grandpa who just smiles at the mischief his grandkids get into.
Or maybe it is a different caricature of God. People picture an angry, vengeful God who judges and punishes. We like to see God this way when someone did something to hurt us. We want God to give them what they have coming. But we don’t want to imagine that his wrath could ever be turned against us.
Our verse for today helps us see God as he really is. It is true. God is a just God who hates sin—every sin, big or small. He can’t just ignore it. Imagine if a judge chose to ignore certain crimes! No, God does not leave the guilty unpunished. What a warning for us when we are tempted to see what we can get away with! Everyone who disobeys God in any way deserves his punishment.
But this same God also forgives wickedness, rebellion, and sin. How can that be? The answer is found in Jesus. God does not leave the guilty unpunished. He counted Jesus guilty of our sins, our crimes, our offenses. And he punished him for them. Jesus accepted our guilty verdict and death sentence, so we could hear God’s not guilty verdict and the promise of our freedom.
God showed his justice, grace, holiness, and forgiving love by sending his Son to be punished in our place. See God as he really is—your God who took sin seriously enough to punish his own Son for it, who loved you enough to forgive you for the sake of his Son, Jesus. Knowing your God, flee from your sin into his forgiving arms!
Jesus, help me to see you as you really are—a just and loving God who was punished so that I am forgiven. Amen.