DEVOTIONAL | SHANNON MILLER.
Watching the news is hard on my heart, and it can leave my heart hard. When all I know of a person is a mugshot and the story of their lowest moments, it is easy to write them off as unredeemable. But with my fingers poised over the keys, I am checked by this thought: If there is no hope for the basest sinner, then there is no hope for me either.
To say that someone could sin so much that they cannot be forgiven, would be to say that Jesus’ sacrifice is not completely sufficient. Or to say that I have better odds than they do because I haven’t flagrantly sinned, would be to say that there is something I can and must add to what Christ has done. What a terrifying thought! If I must supplement His work on the cross with my obedience in some way, then my salvation rides on the edge of a knife.
But it is by grace that I am saved, through faith, and not by works (Ephesians 2:8,9). I bring nothing to the table, because nothing else is needed (Hebrews 9:24-28). He brings all the bread and wine to this banquet (John 6:22-59, Matthew 26:26-29, Isaiah 55). And it is by the scandal of grace that anyone – all who go back on their word, all who cheat with their eyes or with their hands, all who murder in their minds or with a gun (see Matthew 5:21-37), may enter through the same wide-open door of mercy.
What can I tell my heart when its cries for justice start tending toward hate? Where can I take the outcry over sin? I must leave it in the hands of God, and return my focus to following Him. “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps,” (1 Peter 2:21).
When Jesus went meekly to the cross, He was not allowing injustice to rule. He was allowing justice to take time, and mercy to triumph, as He resisted the distraction of offense and pursued His purpose. He did not leave sins unpunished, but took the punishment on Himself. “He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed,” (1 Peter 2:22-24, NLT).
It is His to mete out justice and mercy, and it is mine to follow, awestruck by the depths of His grace to me.