The one who sins is the one who will die . . . I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
“It’s not fair!” Students complain when they all have to stay in from recess because a few students misbehaved. “It’s not fair!” Object family members who have to stay home from a planned outing because one child was not cooperating.
It’s not fair, but it is the reality of life in a sin-plagued world. We suffer consequences, not only for our own disobedience, but also for some of the wrongs that others commit.
The temptation we sometimes face is to blame God. “It’s not fair, God! Why should I have to suffer? I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Of course, if we looked closely at God’s legal code, we would realize that we are not as innocent as we want to believe. Each and every angry thought, each and every hurtful word, each and every selfish action makes us lawbreakers. Each one makes us guilty before God. And God’s law spells out the punishment for the crimes. It says, “The one who sins is the one who will die.”
But that same just God said, “I take no pleasure in the death of anyone.” He didn’t want to see us die for our sins. He doesn’t delight in seeing us suffer in this life, and he doesn’t want us to suffer when this life is over. And so he did something completely unfair. He sent his own innocent Son, Jesus, to suffer for us. He held Jesus responsible for our angry thoughts, hurtful words, and selfish actions. And he sentenced him to death—our death.
Because Jesus accepted the punishment for our sins, no guilt remains to be punished. God allows us to suffer only to draw us closer to him. He wants the suffering that we see in our lives to lead us to turn from our sins and seek his mercy—mercy he showed in sending Jesus to forgive our sins. Mercy that means life instead of death for all who trust Jesus as Savior.
God of mercy, turn my heart from sinful ways that, forgiven, I may have life with you. Amen.