Friday, December 30, 2005

Sin of Murder, continued

(Yesterday, I wrote about the execution of Tookie Williams for the murder of four people. Is one sin--the sin of murder, for example--worse than other kinds of sin? The Bible says all kinds of sin are detested by God.)

God gave his son Jesus to the world as a sacrifice for our sin, to rescue us from our evil nature and to restore us to himself. During his life on earth, Jesus showed people how to live and how to love and serve God. Then he took upon himself the punishment we all deserve.

A young woman I know thinks she is so bad and horrid that God wouldn’t ever forgive her. She says, “I’m trying to get myself to the point where I feel like I can ask for forgiveness. I’m working on myself so I’d deserve it. He won’t even listen to me, the way I am now.”

I have news for her. She can’t possibly deserve it, no matter how long and hard she works at it. She can’t earn it—impossible. But she doesn’t have to.

Because of Jesus, we can have mercy and forgiveness from God. It is free. All we have to do is come to him with open hearts, sincerely asking for forgiveness, and he cleans us up and changes us. He freely gives us joy, peace, and tender love—and a new way of life. He hates sin. But he loves us and wants us to love him so much that he did a drastic thing through Jesus to make it possible. That’s called grace.

Tookie Williams, executed for committing four murders, worked hard at keeping teenagers from joining gangs. Was he guilty? I don’t know. If so, was he forgiven by God? I don’t know whether he ever asked for forgiveness; I think he said he was not guilty. Did he deserve to be forgiven because of all that good work? That’s irrelevant. Nobody has to deserve it.

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