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News for Monday, June 9, 2014

Sunday School Lesson — Bible Studies for Life
June 15: God is Just
By Gene Nelson
pastor, Russellville Baptist, Russellville

Focal Passage: Ezekiel 18: 21-24, 30-32

It was comedian Bill Cosby who famously said, “Parents don’t want justice, they want quiet!” That is so true! Times come in a busy household that you don’t care who is right or wrong, you just want it over! Well, God is not that way. He has a definite right and wrong standard for all humanity. He does not play favorites, and He does not choose sides. Truth is, we are all His favorites, and He is always on our side. However, these verses speak clearly that, when God’s standards are not kept, His justice will prevail.

There are some who think that if they piggyback off the faith of their parents, grandparents, or friends, then they are in right relationship with God. Thinking, “Well, my parents knew God and I went to church, so I do not deserve God’s judgment.” However, these verses remind us that there is an individual responsibility for every person’s actions. Deuteronomy 24:16 says, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sins.” The examples given in verses 21-24, 30 tell us that people determine their own destiny with their personal character and decisions.

There are those who are described as “the wicked man.” Who, after coming to the realization of his sins, turns and repents. Then, there is the one who has the appearance of a righteous man, who chooses to live for himself, turns away from righteous living, and lives a carnal life. It is possible to have an outward appearance of righteous living, yet still not have a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 7 tells us that “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

Last week’s lesson reminded us that God is love. Because of His love, when sinners seek Him, come in faith and repentance, their transgressions shall be remembered no more. That is His love on display through His grace. Not by our works, lest any man should boast. Some will say, “Well, that’s not fair!” I don’t know about you, but I sure am grateful that God does not give me what is fair. If that were the case, what hope would any of us have for a Heavenly home? The wages of our sin is death! If I got what I deserved, if any of us got what we deserved, where is the hope? The fact that God is just, demands that He punish sin. When humanity deliberately rebels against Him and His Word, in His holiness, God will bring discipline. Sin is no small thing in the presence of a Holy God. He does not enjoy punishing His children, but like a caring and compassionate parent, He does it to draw sinners back to Himself.  

So the invitation goes out to all, “Turn and live.” It is the invitation found throughout Scripture, Come! It is the call of Ezekiel in verse 32. It is His invitation in chapter 36:22-29. It is the cry of Jesus, to come unto Him, all who are weary and heavy laden, and He will give rest. It is the invitation Andrew shares with His brother, Peter, “Come, and see.” Oh, that everyone would repent and turn.

The sad truth is that many love the world too much, and will choose to live in wickedness. In that reality, there is nothing God can do but to obey His own covenant and punish the wicked. Why? Because He is just!

— Nelson is pastor of Russellville Baptist Church, Russellville.

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