For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
The wages of sin is death.
Over the years I have run into many people who felt God's judgment was a bit harsh. They felt the same way about His warning to Adam and Eve. You remember what He said to them, "You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die" (Genesis 3:3b).
What do you think? Too strong?
If so, this might help. Recently, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission started pushing its program, which they call "Resale Round-up." It's a plan that halts the sale of any item that fails the government's standard on lead.
Do you wonder what that has to do with you? If so, let me ask you this: have you ever had a garage sale, a yard sale, or donated stuff for somebody else to have one? Did the items you sell and the items you gave away meet the government's rules about lead?
What? You don't know? That's sad. There is a 24-page book that tells you what is banned.
There is a Web site that tells you what is illegal. And, if you get caught selling something on that list, you can be fined.
"How big a fine?" you might ask. It can be up to $100,000 per infraction. As Inez Tenenbaum, the CPSC chairman says, "Those who resell recalled children's products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children's lives at risk."
You see, it's a big deal, and the government isn't letting people off. They don't want your money; they want you to do what is right.
That's just like the Lord. The Lord didn't want Adam and Eve to sin. He just wanted them to be thankful to Him for what He had done. He wanted them to do what was right.
They didn't. You know the rest of their story. I also hope you know the Savior's story. After death entered the world things seemed dark. They were dark -- so dark that the Lord had mercy on His helpless, hopeless children. That mercy was personified in Jesus, His Son.
So that we might have the gift of God, the Father allowed Jesus to be born, saw Him suffer, die, and rise. This Jesus did for us, so we might be forgiven and saved. That's God's grace in action -- and it is the absolute opposite of harsh.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that Jesus has paid for my errors. I regret those sins and transgressions, but I also give thanks Jesus has paid for them. May I be less judgmental and more appreciative of Your mercy and grace. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries