he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
I like reading this verse again and again, for it reminds me of something quite amazing. It reminds me that while God’s authority is absolute, he does not treat us with the same absolute way. He does not treat us as our sins indicate that we deserve; for he is graceful. In this study we will look at the grace and mercy God has for us despite our iniquities.
he does not treat us as our sins deserve – thank God for his mercy! For if we were treated as our sins deserved, if we were punished for every lie, every deception, every envy and jealousy, every moment of self-cent redness and pride; every bout of anger and every violent fit; well to put it plainly, we would have long been dead. These are but just some of the most common things that I’ve listed out, sins that we do not really consider as sins; sins that the world tells us it’s okay to have, it’s normal to commit.
After all, what exactly would you say is the punishment of any one sin? If you look at the old testament more than half the punishment involves death. And what did Ananias or Saphira do that we did not? All they did was to tell a lie. Okay, maybe you can count pride in it, since they wanted to show off as well. Okay, disrespect for God, maybe, since they tested God. Their punishment was death [Acts 5:9]. I don’t dare say I’ve never done anything similar before. Maybe not in the same scale, but these days we do what they did so commonly and think we can get away with it. Perhaps if Ananias and Saphira happened in this time and age, there would be less sin going around in the churches today. But God is merciful – for if he truly judged us like he did to Ananias and Saphira, surely not many of us would survive.
It may be a morbid way to think about it, but if you are struggling to deal with the perceived lack of justice in life, or the seemingly unfair treatment that God gives – where people who are evil may prosper when you, who are more righteous, suffer – then maybe it won’t hurt to think about it this way. If God treats us with absolute fairness, you wouldn’t have been here to complain about unfairness – you would have been dead last week from snapping at your mother – or maybe twenty years ago when you lied to go to a party.
God has mercy on us and our weaknesses. He knows our struggles. There is punishment for sin – look at the Israelites in the Old Tedtament. Look at Ananias and Saphira in the new. But yet there are so many more examples of forgiveness, of God responding kindness to evil. Is suffering because of sin? Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar says yes. Paul, Peter, James tell us to expect to suffer for Christ. When we suffer for Christ, are we sinning? No, certainly not. There are many causes to suffering, and one of them would be sin.
If we are repaid according to our iniquities – life will be a lot fairer – but surely also a lot shorter and more painful. We are sinners. I sin, no doubt. You sin, most likely. But God knows our weaknesses. God knows our limitations. God understands our struggles. And he has mercy on us. As we struggle, let us not forget who we are – sinners – and how God constantly forgives us. And little by little, as we continue to struggle, let us improve upon ourselves, let us learn to refrain from sinning, let us learn to appreciate God’s mercy and not take it for granted.
Thank God for his mercy.