“I’m too bad for God to forgive me.”
“You don’t know the things I’ve done.”
“I wish I could believe what your telling me is true.”
Have you ever heard those responses when sharing Jesus with someone? I have, in fact I thought them before I became a Christian. The devil will whisper lies in your ear to discredit God, make Him seem like some stern father who is unloving and unmerciful. Satan will get you to fear God for all the wrong reasons.
God should be feared, but only because we stand before Him in awe. We should understand that He is a God of justice, but He is also a God of mercy:
“But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.” (Psalm 130:4)
When we understand who God is, as much as we are able to with our human minds, then we come to see that only the God of the Bible can do things inconceivable to man’s wisdom. We can understand why someone would think it is wishful thinking to believe that someone would forgive another no matter the offense.
However, to understand how God can forgive us, we must learn more about God’s character. Why would God, who is just and mighty, overlook our offenses? It is God’s nature to forgive:
“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” (Psalm 86:5)
Did you see that? Those last seven words are why Satan’s works so hard to deceive you. God’s abundant mercy is available “to all those who call upon You.”
Satan knows if he can keep you doubting God and focusing on your sin, then he can possibly keep you from going to the one power greater than he. The devil wants you to believe that it is wishful thinking that the God of the Bible is true. The paradox of the deception is that Satan knows that it is true.
Once you become a Christian, Satan and his demons work overtime to get you to be a nominal Christian and to not become devout in your faith. C.S. Lewis did a great job of depicting this in The Screwtape Letters.
Satan does not want you to discover the depth of God’s mercies, knowing you will slip up and sin and then hoping you will give up on this “Christianity thing.” As my pastor likes to say, “The devil is the best devil there is.”
Nonetheless, when you search Scripture, you discover a God who is boundless in His mercies. There is nowhere on earth you can go and not find God’s mercy:
“The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy; teach me Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:64)
Once again we discover an open secret in the Bible. I call them secrets because so many Christians act as though you need some special decoder ring to understand the Bible. Nevertheless, the keys are lying out in the open.
The psalmist, after confessing the fullness and truth of God’s mercy, asks God to teach him God’s statutes. The reason we need to learn God’s statutes is that there is a permanency to God’s law. The Bible tells us this about God’s Son:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
The good news we glean from this verse is that God is never changing. What was true thousands of years ago at the writing of the Bible is true today. It is not wishful thinking. And because it is trustworthy, the writer of Hebrews continues with this:
“Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.” (Hebrews 13:9)
Have you been wishing you could straighten your life out and live on the straight and narrow? Have you wanted to believe the good news about Jesus Christ that someone who loves you took the time to share with you?
Or are you a wayward Christian who has wandered off the path of righteousness, choosing to go your own way only to find yourself lost in a dark forest? Walk toward the light. You know the way back.
Either way, it’s not wishful thinking.
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Copyright © 2015 David Jeffers