NO MORE MR. NICE GUY(Questions 12-13)
1. By punishing us now(allowing the consequences of sin to happen)
2. By punishing us after we die(sending us to hell)
The natural reaction we have when we hear these things is to ask, "Is there any way out of this mess?" The catechism answers that question in this way:
13. Can we take this punishment ourselves?
No. We only make it worse day by day by continuing to sin.
These two questions seem to make the bad news even worse. It shows us that not only is there no way out, but everyday we are making the punishment worse. For each day we continue to sin, God is storing up His wrath and judgment for us. Look what the Apostle Paul has to say about this problem:
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God...
God is being patient. He is letting everyone think they are getting away with their sins. But one day His patience will come to an end and then look out! No more Mr. Nice Guy! God is going to let His anger fly and judgment will come upon all those who refused to repent of their sins. At that time they won't be able to say to God, "You never gave me a chance". God gave them many, many chances. His goodness and patience toward them was a sign to repent, not to continue in their evil deeds. But these people will abuse God's grace and take advantage of His kindness.
This habit we sinners have of taking our time to repent is nothing new. Do you remember the story of Noah and the ark? It is a classic example of how God told people to repent, but they chose to stay in sin until one day it was too late. The rain started to fall, the waters rose and God's judgment destroyed the earth. Instead of repenting when they had a chance, the sinners of that time decided to play games with God's patience. When God said "No more Mr. Nice Guy", it was too late for those people.
Another example of storing up wrath is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. These cities were in big time sin. God went as far as to send two angels to tell the people to repent. But instead of asking for God's forgiveness or falling on their knees before Him, they chose instead to sin against the angels. Enough was enough and God sent fire and brimstone down from heaven and burned up both cities. These people had plenty of chances to repent but they chose to abuse God's grace. When God's patience came to an end these people felt His terrible anger and wrath.
One of the common excuses people give(especially kids) for not repenting is that they want to have fun. They say, "I am young and still have much to do. I will repent and serve God when I am old and gray". This kind of thinking is not only very dangerous but also very foolish because we do not know how long we will live. Even though you think you can wait ten or twenty years to repent, the truth is you could die tonight in your sin. You do not know when God will end your life. Read Jesus' parable of the rich man who thought he had his whole life ahead of him:
"...'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease: eat, drink, and be merry."' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you...'"
So there is one reason why we shouldn't put off trusting in Jesus. We don't know when we will die. Another simple but important reason is this-God commands us to repent! He says to do it today, now, at this moment. God does not say, "Think it over and let me know what you think". When He reveals your sin to you and says to repent that is exactly what He means for you to do. There is no room for argument.
The catechism makes it clear that there is no way to escape the judgment of God. It also has shown us how each day we are storing up more and more of God's wrath as we continue to sin against Him. Those who abuse God's grace will be repaid a million times over with wrath against their body and soul. The time of God's waiting will end and then it's no more Mr. Nice Guy.
There is hope for those of us who trust in Jesus and ask forgiveness for our sins. Not only will we be forgiven of our sin against God, but He has promised to give us a new life-one that will never end. We will be with God forever. Don't wait any longer. If God catches you off guard you will spend forever apart from Him. Is that what you want? Trust in Jesus and believe that He took the punishment you deserved. Don't risk your eternal soul. Repent of your sins today.
1. How do we make the bad news worse?
2. Give two examples of people taking advantage of God's patience.
3. Why is it foolish to wait to repent?
©1998 Pomona Youth Chapel/Pastor Tim Shultz