"Just and Merciful"
January 3, 2013
But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Any pastor who has taught confirmation knows there are certain questions which come up year after year.
One of those questions is when Adam and Eve sinned why didn't God just say, "It's okay. I'll give you another chance"? The answer to that question gets rather complicated, as the pastor gets into a discussion about God being both just and merciful.
Thankfully, an unnamed policeman from Plano, Texas, has given a very practical example of why God did what He did.
The story begins with a man -- Hayden Carlo -- being pulled over for driving with an expired car registration. When the officer asked for an explanation, Mr. Carlo, the father of two young children said, "I don't have an excuse other than I don't have the money." He added, "It was either feed my kids or get my registration done."
I could tell you the officer said, "Oh, I understand. Then it's okay. I'm going to let you go." Yes, the officer could have said that, but he didn't. When he became a policeman, he swore to uphold the law, and he couldn't set that part of himself aside. The officer wrote Mr. Carlo the ticket, which he deserved.
But there's more to this story.
When Mr. Carlo opened the envelope containing his ticket, he found the officer also had included a $100 bill. Today, because of the officer's ... the officer's gracious and sacrificial act ... Mr. Carlo's car is properly registered.
Many years ago Adam and Eve sinned. God, who is both just and fair, couldn't simply ignore or set aside that act of disobedience. He had told them what would happen if they disobeyed, and God, the originator of law and order, had to follow through.
But God is also gracious and merciful. Although Adam and Eve had sinned, the Lord still loved them. So His wayward children might be saved, along with His judgment, He gave the promise of forgiveness. He would send His Son who would live a perfect life for us, carry our sins for us, and die the death which should have been ours.
Because God is both just and merciful our sins are paid for, and believers are forgiven and saved.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I sincerely repent of all I have done wrong. Today I give thanks that my Savior has done all that was necessary, so I might be given forgiveness and salvation. Because of Jesus please hear my prayer of thanks. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries