I get them all the time from well- meaning friends and family.
You know, the e-mails with the beautiful photos and flowery descriptions of God and His handiwork. The cutsie sayings and wonderful advice on living and giving and caring and sharing. The wonderful graphics with angels and mountains and redwoods. The admonitions to stop and smell the roses before it’s too late. The advice to not take things for granted and to be grateful for all the wonderful things and people that God has given us. All of that may certainly be true…and we certainly ought be grateful. And there is encouragement and good lessons in many of those e-mails. I am grateful for that and those that would share this encouragement with me.
But what about the wrath of a God who is pretty ticked off about what we have done with those gifts He has given us? What about the wrath of God who has given us up to our sin? What about a God who tells us that “the wages of sin is death“? What about a God who is deadly serious about our insistance on replacing Him with a god that we form from our own hearts and minds? That God might as well be the devil as far as we are concerned. Apart from the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus the Christ, and the forgiveness of sin that He gives to us, that God would have us suffer the full consequences of our rebellion.
Once in a while those e-mails have something of Jesus in them. Once in a while they speak of the cross of Christ and the mercy and love that He has for us. And for that I am grateful. Once in a while they do not contain the promise of blessings if you pass the e-mail on to 10 people in 10 minutes, and return it to the one who sent it to you…and for that I am also grateful (nothing worse than “Christian” superstition).
But God did send us His Son. God is loving and merciful. God did give Jesus all power and judgement over creation. God did answer Jesus’ prayer to forgive us by raising him from the dead. The one who died for us, is the same One who will judge us. For that I am greatful.
So, if your looking for something to do, apart from passing on those nice e-mails about a loving God and His beautiful creation…then I would advise you to repent of your sin and believe, be baptized, regularly take and eat His body which was broken and given for you. Drink His blood which was poured out for you for the forgiveness of your sins. Trust in Him when He says that He forgives your sins, all of them. Cast off the yoke of slavery which is the religious project of trying to prove to God, yourself and others that you are serious about God. Realize that deep down you really aren’t all that serious about God (not all that often anyway)…but realize that He is serious about you. Serious enough about you to take the only action that would suffice for you…and that is to die for you, and to forgive you all your sin.
Do all the good in this world that you can do. Just do not connect it to God’s forgiveness for you.
Realize the truth of what Martin Luther said, that “the good that you do will not save you, and that the evil that you do will not condemn you…because of Christ Jesus”.
.Photo by Amelia PS and Flickr