Rules and Limits
The requirements God sets forth for us are for our protection and well-being -
Parents do their best to teach their children about right and wrong and to warn them about the dangers and consequences of making poor choices. Parents love their children and do not want them to get hurt. They want what is best for them. God sees us as His children. He protects and cares for us in the same way.
Just like children protest against the limits their parents set for them, so do we protest against the limits God sets for us. At the time, children may not understand the reason behind the limits set for them - or they may feel their parents are being overprotective, that they can handle it. But, generally, parents know what is best; because they know what will happen if the rules are not set in place and they know what will happen if the rules are not followed.
So it is with God and the limits he sets for us. We may not understand why, or we may think he is being overprotective - that we can handle it. But God knows us and knows how we are. He knows what is best for us.
Just as parents must punish their children – even when it is difficult for them to do so ("This is going to hurt me a lot more than it is you!"), so also, must God punish us.
If a child kills someone, their parents will still love them. Nothing can ever change that. But parents know and understand justice must be served. Regardless if the punishment is life in prison or the death sentence, good parents stand behind the laws of the land and the justice system. So it is with us and God. He will always love us, nothing can change that (see Romans 8:38-39). No matter how much it hurts Him to punish us, God is just and cannot tolerate injustice. Disobedience requires justice.
But there is Good News in all of this! God has provided us with a pardon! He is willing to forgive and forget all we have done in disobedience -IF- we turn away from our disobedient lifestyle and turn and follow the path His Son laid out for us.
It isn't easy. A lot of us are stubborn and set in our ways - and He knows that. That is why each day he gives us a clean slate -IF- we are sincere in our desire to live in obedience and accept that His Son has already paid the penalty for our disobedience. Just as parents forgive their misbehaving children, so is God willing to forgive us. If children go back to misbehaving, they must realize the consequences of their actions. If we return to a lifestyle of disobedience to God, we, too, must realize the consequence of our actions. We are still loved, but we are still going to realize that when we willfully break the rules, we will be punished. If we have a change of heart and stop willfully breaking the rules, we are forgiven.
Does our being good earn us the forgiveness? No. As children who love their mother and father, we follow the rules and obey our parents because we want to please them, and we want them to be pleased with us. So it is with our relationship to our Father in heaven. It is not because we are being good that He forgives us. Our being good is a natural result of our love for Him. He forgives us because He loves us. We love Him because He loves us. He has always loved us. Even when we didn't know about or didn't care about Him and His love for us. Just as our parents loved us even when we were breaking their rules, so He has always loved us.
Because God loves us so, he sent his only Son to live among us and tell us about God's great love for us. And in loving obedience to his Father, Jesus left his cushy place in heaven, came down here to live as one of us, telling us about the love his Father in heaven has for us. Then he was humiliated, rejected, tortured and murdered - by us - the very people he came to save from being punished! In so doing, he took on all the punishment God was going to give us. Why? Because he loves his Father that much!
Wow! If that were us, we'd be seeking revenge! God knows us and understands us - He did create us after all! Nobody knows us better or loves us more - even though we are the way we are. But God is Holy - a concept we humans have a hard time understanding. And God cannot tolerate that which is not Holy. That is why He sent his Son to pay the penalty for our rebellion and disobedience. We can be forgiven and have the filth of our disobedient lifestyle (sins) washed away, by the blood of His Son. But the only way we can be cleansed, is by believing that God is God and that He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins. If we confess and forsake our sinful lifestyle, God will fill us with His Holy Spirit. He will place His mark [seal] on our heart, so that on the Day of Judgment, we will be counted among the saved - among the forgiven. And when that time comes, we will celebrate and rejoice like never before!
Imagine, feeling loved and accepted and living in paradise where everything is perfect. No more sadness. No more loss. No more temptation. Living forever in peace and serenity.
If have yet to give your heart and their life over to God, through faith in His son, Christ Jesus, I've just got one question for you... What are you waiting for?!?
Don't wait any longer! Don't miss out on the best thing that could ever happen to you! If you die before you make the ultimate choice you can ever make, it will be too late!
No one likes to be punished. Remember being "grounded"? Remember how that felt? Remember how it seemed like forever? Well guess what? You're going to live forever! The question you need to ask yourself is, “Do I want to live forever in paradise, or do I want to live forever GROUNDED?!” The choice is all yours. I strongly encourage you to decide today, right now.
THE DECISION: WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS CHRIST?
There are only three possible answers to this question:
- To say yes, to accept God's free gift of salvation by putting your trust in Jesus Christ.
- To say no, to reject God's offer of salvation. The Bible says that those who make this choice will spend eternity separated from God in a place called Hell.
- To say maybe later and put off the decision. The Bible does say that God is patient, wanting everyone to come to the point of accepting His gift of salvation (2 Peter 3:9). But none of us is promised that we will be here tomorrow, and because of this "x-factor" of death, trying to put off our decision by saying ‘maybe’ automatically puts us in the "no" category.
So, in reality, there are only two answers to the question, "What will you do with Jesus Christ?"
a) Accept His free gift of salvation or...
b) reject it.
b) reject it.
Let me ask you this; "What have you done with Jesus Christ?" If you have never accepted God's offer of eternal life, I can think of no better time than right now (2 Corinthians 6:2). If you would like to say ‘yes’ to Christ, you can do it right now. The invitation is open. You can accept the gift of salvation and get rid of the sin in your life right now. It doesn't matter what you're doing or what you've done. The offer is open to everyone.
If you've come this far, you probably realize you're about to make the most important decision of your life. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." He also said, "Whoever comes to me I will never drive away." So talk to Him. The way believers talk to the Lord is through prayer. Your prayer should be your own, from your own heart to His. If you're not in the habit of praying, you may need an example. An example of such a prayer may go something like this:
Almighty God, I know that I am a sinner and in need of your forgiveness. I believe that Your Son Jesus died in my place, to pay the penalty for my sin, and rose again for my salvation. I want to turn from my sinful ways, and be at peace with you. So I'm surrendering my life to you. From this moment forward, I choose to live in your grace, by placing my faith in the finished work of your Son; my Savior and now Lord of my life, Christ Jesus. Thank you for all you've done for me and those like me. Amen.
The Bible says, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13) So if you have sincerely asked Him into your life, and believe He died to save you, you are a Christian, bound for Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The difficulties of living as a Christian in a sinful world are many. Therefore it is essential that you immediately seek other sincere, Bible-believing Christians, to help you grow to maturity in Christ. Both individual Christian friends and a solidly Bible-based Christian church are essential.