Israel’s track record with God’s prophets was not good. All of them were mistreated and most of them were murdered by the unbelieving Jews: Isaiah was rumored to have been sawed in half, Jeremiah sat up to his neck in mud at the bottom of a cistern, John the Baptist was beheaded. And what about Jesus? What would they do to him? Would they reject him and his message, too? If you know anything about the life of Jesus, you know the answer, and it isn't good.
God was very patient with his people. He was hoping they would turn a new leaf and start listenign to him.
Parents can be this way, can’t they? They give chance after chance for their misbehaving child. They love their child, they want what’s best. And their love causes them to hope that their child will accept their invitation to do the right thing. God was the loving father of Israel: waiting patiently, patiently hoping they would return to him and believe.
It seems like such an unexpected turn of events, doesn’t it? God’s chosen people, the ones he appeared to and made himself known to, rejected him. Yet we should never underestimate the human potential for unbelief. It’s not news to us that we routinely slap God’s invitation out of his hand. Each time we turn over in our heads some sin, some evil that we feel would be real nice to commit, we reject God’s invitation. Each time we open our mouths to trash someone else’s reputation, each time we get all puffed up with self-righteous pride wondering why everyone else doesn’t see things my way—we slap God’s invitation away.
And how often do we need to do this before we find ourselves in unbelief? How many times do we need to play with sin, to willingly go out and do something we know is wrong—how many times do we play on the edge of unbelief before we fall into it? I think you seem to forget the human potential to stop believing. It’s not the heart of faith that gossips. It’s not the heart of faith that’s self-righteous. It’s not the heart of faith that sins. Sin is lawlessness. Sin is rebellion. Are you OK that you are a sinner? Have you justified your sins before God? Then be very careful, because the ground is starting to shift under your feet, and you will fall into condemnation.
So why doesn’t God just wipe us out, huh? Why not get rid of us if this is case? Because God’s love is more faithful than our sinfulness. God gives you his invitation to repent and believe over and over again because he loves us. He sends you his invitation to repent through his word and your own conscience. Listen to his invitation right now.
Listen, because God loves you. God loves you so, he sent his son. Here he is pleading with you and me to believe what he offers. He holds out to you the perfect life we struggle to even think about, let alone live. Christ invites you to believe that he gives you his perfect life that covers up all sinful arrogance—all sin! Christ invites you to see that his invitation to believe is written with his innocent blood. Your debt to God is covered by the payment of Christ. Christ invites you to accept his invitation because it is backed up by his own Easter guarantee: because Christ rose from the dead all his promises are yours, in full, right now.
So don’t give yourselves over to sin. Accept Christ’s invitation to resist the temptation to gossip, to give in to your pride, to harbor impure thoughts. Such things don’t come from faith. But the good things like: love, charity, peace and joy...think about those things. As Paul says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
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