Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
Bad grace says I can cheat in my marriage, and grace covers it all and relieves me of the consequences. By contrast, look at three principles about good grace we find in Scripture. First of all, good grace conditions God’s forgiveness upon our repentance. In Psalm 51:17, David wrote, “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Yes, God is willing to forgive if we are willing to ask, but coupled with that is repentance. Repentance is simply a change of mind that leads to a change of direction. If you are not willing to let go of that sin in your life, then do not expect to be forgiven. God demands heartfelt contrition and repentance.
Second, good grace emphasizes the consequences of disobedience. David’s son Solomon had a front row seat to view the ongoing consequences of his father’s sexual sin. That is why Solomon warned about the destructive power of adultery (even though he did not follow his own advice). In Proverbs 6:32-33, he said, “The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; he who would destroy himself does it. Wounds and disgrace he will find, and his reproach will not be blotted out.” To understand grace, we have to emphasize the consequences of disobedience.
Finally, good grace affirms the benefits of forgiveness. Psalm 103:12-13 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” Even when you mess up, God has compassion. He understands your limitations, and He is willing to forgive. Grace means you do not have to worry about the eternal consequences of your sin, even though the temporal consequences continue.
Maybe you are experiencing the consequences of a mistake you asked forgiveness for a long time ago, and you are a little bit irritated that you are still suffering because of that sin. May I suggest to you that those consequences are a sign of God’s grace and love for you? Think about those consequences as an electric fence God has built around your life. Anytime you are tempted to stray from God’s Word, you receive an acute reminder to move back. In Psalm 119:67, David wrote, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.” The consequences that David experienced every moment of his life were a reminder that he never wanted to go where he was before; he wanted to do God’s will. Consequences are a sign of God’s grace.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Good-Grace Marriages” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org