April 27, 2016
READ: Joshua 7:16-26
[Jesus] 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 2:24).
People sometimes ask me, “How come the God of the Old Testament seems so cruel and harsh compared to the God of the New Testament?” To answer that question, I start by assuring them that He doesn’t have multiple personalities—the God of the Old and New Testaments is the same God. He’s “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). I then explain that a good God can’t tolerate sin—an uncomfortable truth for some to acknowledge.
When we read that Achan hid forbidden things in his tent (Joshua 7:20—22) and died for his sin along with all his family, it’s hard to not view his punishment as harsh (v.25). It’s vital, however, for us to grasp how seriously God views all sin. He despises it. He doesn’t merely dislike it or find it distasteful (Proverbs 6:16). The act of Achan’s family being destroyed isn’t an example of God’s anger and vengefulness, but a demonstration of His holiness, purity, and perfect character.
As we consider God’s faithful character, it’s vital that we look to the garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus said to God the Father, “Take this cup of suffering away from me” (Luke 22:42). And then we need to ask ourselves, what was in the cup? The answer: Out of love, Jesus took the punishment of our rebellion. All our sins filled the cup that Jesus “drank” for us. God spared Him nothing as He was crucified on a cross because “God loved the world”—loved us (John 3:16).
Once we realize the enormity of our rebellion against God, then and only then are we able to see the incredible cost of His grace! There’s no righteous wrath left for those who trust in Jesus, for love compelled Him to “[carry] our sins” on the cross (1 Peter 2:24).
365-day-plan: 2 Kings 22:1–23:3
Read Matthew 26:36—46 and consider the pain Jesus experienced as He took the punishment for your sin.
How do you share this challenging aspect of the gospel? Why would it be wrong for God to not deal with sin in such a serious way?