For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
A pastor friend of mine told me about a conversation he had with a lady who was asking about what his church believed.
Everything went fine until he started talking about God's commandments and the penalty for sin. Hearing about hell, the lady blurted: "Pastor, that's impossible! My god would never do such a thing."
Surprised by the lady's reaction, the pastor went on to other topics as he tried to think of a suitable reply.
Before the end of their session, he said, "A little while ago you said your 'god' wouldn't condemn you for disobeying his law. I think a lot of people have that god. Their god doesn't condemn them because he likes them just the way they are. Their god wouldn't call them 'sinners' or call them to repentance, and he certainly wouldn't suggest they need a Savior."
"The only problem with your 'god,'" my friend continued, "is that he doesn't exist, and he certainly isn't the God of the Bible."
"And what was the lady's reply?" I asked my pastor friend.
He said, "I don't know. I never saw her again."
You see, that lady, like many others, thought she was the master, and God was a beggar, who should be glad to glean any crumbs that fall from her table. She thought of God as a cuddly-wuddly teddy bear, who might make her feel warm and secure when she needed Him, but would -- the rest of the time -- sit patiently on her bed, or wherever she put Him.
She thought of God as being a spiritual Santa, who waited anxiously for her to pass on the list of things she wanted, but who could be ignored the rest of the time. She thought of God as a nice grandpa, who gave gentle suggestions, but would never give orders.
Although she might never have said it out loud, this lady was among the hundreds of millions who wonder
* who does God think He is that He can tell me what I'm supposed to do?
* who does God think He is that I have to keep Him first all of the time?
* who does God think He is that He can push me around?
* who does God think He is that I'm not allowed to have anything before Him, alongside Him, over, under, or next to Him?
Who does God think He is?
I'm going to tell you.
God thinks He's God, and we're not. He's the God whose justice compels Him to condemn the sinner and the God whose grace sent His Son into the world to save those same sinners. He is the God who says, "The wages of sin is death, but My free gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus the Lord."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I always remember that You are the loving Lord, and I am the sinful soul. May I always remember the sacrifice made by the Savior, who has given me life through His death and resurrection. In His Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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