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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - Our Benefits Package

Skip Heitzig - Our Benefits Package

Skip Heitzig - Our Benefits Package
Skip Heitzig - Our Benefits Package
TOPICS: Heart and Soul, Book of Romans

Turn to your bibles, please, to the Book of Romans, chapter 5, fifth chapter in Romans. We made it thus far, so far. What a great book to go through. When you apply for a job, oftentimes, there's not just the employment that you're after, but you're after the benefits that come along with joining that company. So there was a young engineer who graduated from MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And he was looking for his first job in the market. He found a company was willing to interview him.

So at the interview, the HR official said, what kind of a salary are you looking for as a starting salary? And the engineer said oh, $250,000 a year, depending on the benefits package. So the HR interviewer said, well, what would you say to this package? Five weeks paid vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental. The company will match retirement funds up to 50% of your salary. And a leased car every two years, say, a red Corvette. And the young engineer sat up straight and said, wow, are you kidding? And she said, yes. But you started it first.

Have you ever thought about how great it is, the company that we work for, the Church of Jesus Christ? Have you ever thought about how great this outfit is? First of all, our product works universally. You can take the gospel, share with any person willing to listen and receive it, and it will change that life. Second, we have offices worldwide. You can go to any country, any culture, and you will find some expression of the church in that country.

Third, our benefits are exceptional. Forgiveness for our past. Meaning in the present, peace of mind. Then on top of that, we have a retirement package that's out of this world, literally, as well as figuratively. When it's all over, we have heaven waiting for us. And even in heaven, we'll be rewarded based upon our service for the Lord here. With that in mind, look at Romans chapter 5. And if you don't mind, go back to the last word of chapter 4. What is the last word that you see there? Justification is the last word written in Romans chapter 4.

Justification, if you remember, is that little word we talked about last time. It's how you get right with God. Justification means to declare righteous. To declare somebody right. And then to treat that person based upon the declaration. So God says OK, if you and I want to get together, the only way that can happen is I'm going to declare that that's true based upon what my son did for you on the cross. You believe in that, I'll make the declaration that you and I are right, you are right with me. And I will treat you based on that. So it is by grace alone, through faith alone. It is not earned, it is received. Which is what's going to make heaven so great.

And none of us, like we said last week, none of us are going to be able to have to listen to people bragging about how good they were to get into heaven. But we're all going to point to the man with five wounds and say that's how I got here, based on what He did for me. It's what's so good about the good news. It's what makes the gospel the gospel. Otherwise, it would be nothing but bad news. So if this were a courtroom scene, that picture that we painted last week, if this were a courtroom scene, Paul is setting the whole world down in the courtroom, and saying the whole world is guilty before God. He makes his case by saying things like for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He makes this case by saying there is none righteous, not even one.

And then a witness comes in. It's Moses. The world is sitting there, Skip Heitzig is among them. Moses comes in with the law and says to the Judge, "Your Honor, Skip Heitzig has broken the law repeatedly." I hang my head a little lower as another witness, Satan, comes in. We all know who he is. He's the accuser of the brethren, he knows all the dirt on me, all the secret thoughts, all the bad deeds. And he knows them so well and he just starts spouting them off to the Judge. And I feel really bad because I know it's all true and I just stand there absolutely speechless.

And the Judge turns to me and says, "Are these things so?" "Yes, Your Honor." And just when I think it's all over my defense attorney approaches the bench. His name is Jesus. And what's interesting about my attorney is He happens to be related to the Judge. He's the Judge's son. So He comes up to the bench and doesn't act with all decorum and say "Your Honor," He just leans over the bench and goes, "Hey, Dad. We both know that the death penalty has already been paid for this guy by me, and I present to you as Exhibit A my blood." Then a big smile comes over the Judge's face. He takes the gavel, slaps it down. "Not guilty!" And I go free. I have been justified. I've been justified. That's justification.

But that's just the beginning. After forgiveness there is much more that follows. It is called a benefits package, that's what I'm calling this. The believer's benefits package. And even before we read a few verses in chapter 5, let me just bring you ahead. You don't have to turn there, but in Romans chapter 8, Paul will write, "He who did not spare his own son but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things?" Let's see what those things are.

Romans chapter 5, verse 1 after talking about justification, as we have seen, he begins, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory and tribulation, knowing that tribulations produce perseverance. Perseverance, character. Character, hope. And hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us."

I suppose if the news media were covering the event, the headline on the paper would read, "Sinner Pardoned, Goes to Live With Judge." Now we read about all of the benefits that that criminal will be given because of that process of being declared and now treated as not guilty. So notice a couple of words in verse 1. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have." I'm going to tell you now what we have. We have four benefits. We have peace with God. We have the privilege of access to God. We have a preview of our future. And we have purpose in our pain and suffering. Let's take those benefits one by one.

The first is peace, peace with God. Verse 1, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." This is the first immediate effect of justification. Peace with God, meaning the war is over. The war with God is over. We were at odds with God. That's over. When it talks about the peace of God or peace with God, this is not a feeling of peace. This is a fact of peace. Whether you feel it or not, it is the fact of peace. Now, let me explain. An unsafe person is at enmity with God. Everyone is separated from God, at odds with God, at enmity with God. An unbeliever may hear that and say, oh, I have nothing against God. That's not the point. God has something against you. You are at enmity with him.

Isaiah 48 says, "There is no peace, says the Lord, for the wicked." One of the Psalms, "God is angry with the wicked every day." It's been the premise of the first part of the Book of Romans, has it not, the wrath of God? Romans 1: 18, "Therefore the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven," and he goes into detail about that for three chapters. So the great enemy to peace is not the Democrats, it's not the Republicans, it's not the socialists, it's not any group. The great roadblock and impediment to peace is that three little letter word, sin. Sin separates. Sin is the roadblock. So we need a treaty to be signed, a peace treaty with God.

Now let me hold that thought. Unbelievers might feel differently. They might feel peaceful. I'm fine, I feel very peaceful. That's fine. You might feel peaceful but you're not at peace with God. The peace you're experiencing as an unbeliever is the same peace as somebody sitting on a lounge chair, sipping champagne on the deck of the Titanic. Feels really good now, but that boat is going down. You might feel peaceful but it is a temporary illusion only. You are not at peace with God.

So, for example, if a man commits a crime in the United States and flees the country, he might feel great but he's not at peace with our country. And you can prove that because if he tries to come back in our country he's going to get what? Arrested and put in jail. So this little illustration came to my mind this week, actually. Several channels have been playing this 50-year anniversary of the Charles Manson murders, the Tate-LaBianca crimes that happened in California. I was a kid when they happened and I remember being shaken by that. So Sharon Tate was a young actress who was killed by the Manson gang and she had been married to a young filmmaker named Roman Polanski. When she was murdered and when that whole thing was over, that European filmmaker just left America went back to Europe. He was so heartbroken. He was coming back and forth to the United States.

In 1977 that filmmaker, Roman Polanski, pleaded guilty to drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in the home of actor Jack Nicholson. He pleaded guilty to it, 13-year-old girl. The judge who was looking at the case was planning to arrest Polanski and lock him away. Polanski found out about it and fled the country, moved to Paris, where he is there right now. He does not come back to this country. He still makes films, he won't come back, because if he comes back he'll be arrested. So he might be in his French chalet feeling really peaceful but he is at odds, at war with the American judicial system.

So an unbeliever might feel perfectly peaceful and not be at peace with God. Just conversely is true of a believer who is at peace with God but because of carnality or because they're untaught in the Scripture, they might not have feelings of peace. This, however, is God declaring somebody righteous and making peace possible. So the peace treaty has been signed.

Go down to verse 10. "For if when we were enemies," that's all of humanity, that's our default position. "If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son," that's the peace treaty. "Much more, having been reconciled we shall be saved by His Light." So the cross made peace possible. When you said yes to Jesus, you ran up the white flag of surrender. And you have peace with God. So justification mean God's, God declares you righteous and the result is an objective, legal peace. Isaiah 53, "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by his stripes we are healed."

Now, once we have peace with God, as believers, we should experience something else. We don't always but we should. It's called the peace of God. That's the feeling. You may not feel it but you should feel it. Once you fully realize, hey, there's nothing standing in the way, there's no roadblock between God and I, that should make you feel really good. Make you feel peaceful.

This is what Paul was speaking about in Philippians 4, it's a verse you know very well, some of you have committed it to memory. "Be anxious for nothing but in everything, by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." That's the peace of God.

Peace with God should generate the peace of God, but the first is a fact, peace with God, the second is a feeling, the peace of God. First is judicial, the second is experiential. The first is objective, the second is subjective. Or if you'll allow me to boil it down to this statement, Jesus, as Savior, brings peace with God. Jesus as Lord brings the peace of God.

It's interesting that of all the titles that Jesus bears in Scripture, He is called the Prince of Peace. It's interesting, isn't it? He's not called the Prince of Joy, the Prince of Hope, the Prince of Love, though He certainly could be ascribed all of those titles. He is called the Prince of Peace because primarily He came to make peace between mankind and God.

So I know everybody says they want peace but not everybody wants what it takes to get peace, which is to surrender their lives to Christ. Peace is so sought after, more than anything else, but when people find out what it takes to get peace they may not sign up. But we who have been justified, that's benefit number one. We have peace with God.

There's another benefit. That is the privilege of access. Look at verse 2. "Through whom also," in other words, I'm going to give you another benefit also, through whom, through Christ also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand." Now, the word access is used if somebody bringing somebody else into the presence of somebody else. So it's me going with someone to introduce them to someone.

Kenneth Wiese, who is a Greek scholar, said the word was used of a man who secured an audience with the king and brought that man in, properly attired, before the king. If you're going to have an audience with the king you have to dress right. And so this man got the appointment because he knew the king and then made sure that the man was clad in the right attire to stand before the king.

And as I read that I thought, that's a fitting description. Because we, in and of ourselves, are pretty ill-clad, right? All of our righteousness is as filthy rags. So Jesus comes, clothes us with His righteousness, and takes us in and introduces us to the Father. That's why Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life. No man comes to the Father except through me." He gives us access. And that's the privilege of access.

Let me tell you why this was a revolutionary concept. 2,000 years ago in paganism and Judaism, the idea of intimacy and access with God was unheard of. Did you know that the Greeks didn't want to get close to their gods? In Greek mythology, and even in the Roman pantheon of gods, their gods were angry. They were petulant. They were cantankerous. They were to be placated, not approached. I don't wanna hang out with those gods. I wanna get as far away from them as I can. I just don't wanna tick them off. That was their thinking.

If you look at Judaism it was different but not a whole lot better in terms of intimacy with God or access to God. You couldn't just, if you felt like you wanted to have quiet time and get really close to God, you couldn't run into the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle or the temple, open your Bible there next to the Ark of the Covenant. You'd be zapped dead.

So there were separation walls, there were courts, remember? The Gentiles, they were way, way, way back and they could hang out in the temple area but they could only go up to a certain point and not beyond. If you were a Jewish woman you could get closer than the Gentiles. You had your court but you couldn't go beyond a certain point. If you were a Jewish man you'd have your court a little bit closer than the other two groups but not as close as the priests.

If you're a priest you can hang around the holy place and do your business and get a lot closer than everybody else but you can only go so far. You can't go into the Holy of Holies. Only one dude can go into the Holy of Holies, the high priest once a year, briefly and carefully.

In fact, the stories say the high priest had a rope tied around his ankle, bells on the bottom of his robe, so just in case he keeled over and died while he was doing his worship in the Holy of Holies before God, they could drag him out. Once the bells stopped, uh oh, pull the guy out. You know, his heart isn't right with God or he didn't treat his cat right at home or something happened but he's dead.

All of that ended at the cross. When Jesus died on the cross, a significant event happened that showed that now access is available. It says the Veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom, not bottom to top, top to bottom. God ripped the Veil and basically by that was announcing to the world, y'all can get close now. There is no wall of separation. You can come into the court of the king and you have access into My presence.

That's behind what Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 2, where he wrote, "Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of separation." Jesus did that. He gives us access to God.

And not only do we come into the throne room once, we make repeat visits. I hope you make daily visits. And because in Lamentations 3 it says, "His mercies are new every morning." Boy, I'm glad that verse is in the Bible. Because I use them up, those mercies, I use them up. I need a fresh batch every day. And I'm glad that every morning there's a whole new batch of God's mercies.

So Jesus introduced us to the Father. Then he gave us the key card to the throne room and said, come back, come back, come back, as much as you want. Make repeat visits. And when we come into that throne room, we're to come a certain way. Boldly. We don't have to stand there and go, sorry, it's me again, is it OK? No, how does Hebrews say that we ought to come? Boldly. "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

You know why you come boldly? Because you've been made a son, a daughter of the living God. In fact, look at the word in verse 2, the word "stand." "We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand." Better translation, we stand firmly. We stand immovable.

It means, child of God, even if you fall, even when you fail, even if your clothes get a little muddy, a little dirty, you look a little gnarly, you're a little smelly, you come into that throne room and find grace to help in time of need. You come boldly before God. Because a child of a king can enter his father's presence no matter how he looks. So you come because you have peace with God and you have access to God. Those are benefits.

Let me tell you a true story. I've told it before. I've corroborated it when I've been in the Middle East to make sure I wasn't just blowing smoke. I heard it, I read it, but I got it corroborated by the source. In Bedouin communities in the Middle East, and Bedouins are nomads, they travel around and live in tents. They still exist to this day. It's like an ancient community.

One day two Bedouin young men were having an argument. It broke out into a fight, a heated fight, it got very violent and one man killed the other man. So there is the guy, the dead guy, laying in the sand. He had bled out. And the guy who's alive knowing the inflexible custom of his people, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life. They're gonna to be an avenger of blood after him to take his life.

He fled across the desert to the sprawling tent of a tribal chief called a Sheikh. As he came to the Sheikh's tent, he said, I'm asking for your protection. A crime has been committed. I'm seeking asylum. Also that's a custom among the Bedouin to admit that person into your home based on that plea.

So the old man rose up, put his hand on one of the guy ropes of the tent, and swore by God to give that young man protection, asylum. The next day, the following morning, the pursuers came to that tent and demanded that the old man release that young man to them. Turn them over to us. The old man said, nope, I've sworn my protection. Turn him over to us! He killed a man.

Nope. A word is a word. I've given him my promise, he's under my protection. But you don't know who he killed, they said. Doesn't matter, he said. He's under my asylum. And then they said, he killed your son. The old man fell to the ground, visibly shaken by what he had just heard. Gathered himself, picked himself back up, and said to the pursuers, then he shall become my son and everything I have will one day be his.

Do you know that's exactly what God has done for us? He bought us out of the slave market, he adopted as sons and daughters, brought us into the family, gave peace between God and us, gave access to the throne of grace. And we have all the resources of Heaven at our disposal. Two incredible benefits, peace with God, the privilege of access.

Let me give you a third, that is a future tense, we have a preview of the future. Look at verse 2 but the second part after the grace in which we stand it says "And," the and means now here's a third, "And we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. So follow me.

Our salvation is anchored in the past because Jesus made peace with God. It's anchored in the present because we have access to God continually. And now it's anchored in the future because we have a promise that all of this will lead somewhere else. Listen, this is good news. If Christianity were just a philosophy that gets people through life, it's a belief system that people hold on to so they have a way to cope with this crazy world, if that's all it is then what we're doing is stupidity. We're miserable.

The apostle Paul said, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. Our hope goes beyond today." And where is that hope founded in? The glory of God. The glory of God is another word for Heaven, it's a reference to Heaven where God's glory will be fully displayed. That's where it's all leading.

That's why you hear Christians say, the best is yet to be. This is pretty best, this is pretty cool. Remember what Moses prayed? You, I think was Exodus 33, he said, "Lord, show me Your Glory." Show me your glory.

And you know, I've always been puzzled by that. I was, I'm puzzled that Moses wasn't satisfied with what he had already experienced. Show me your glory? I mean, Moses, if I'm there I'm going, Moe, you have seen enough, haven't you? Let's see, God has spoken to you audibly, a bush lit up in front of you, a body of water opened up, drowned your enemies, bread rained down from Heaven, water came out of a rock. Hello? That's good right there. I've never had that happen. Can't you now just be happy? No! Show me Your glory.

God said, well, you can't see my glory. You'll die. I mean, you'll just fizzle out. No man can see Me and live. You can't handle My glory yet. Do you know that one day Moses' prayer will be answered for you? You will see God's full glory and you won't even need sunglasses. You know why? You'll have a glorified body. Your glorified body, you will share in a glory that will be like His glory, I John 3, "We know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is."

So he calls that hope in the glory of God. I don't like the translation here, hope, because when you hear it you think, I'm crossing my fingers, I hope this is true. That's not the meaning of it. There is a confidence in this word, hope. JB Phillips translates it "a happy certainty." I like that better. We have a happy certainty in the glory of God.

Now, there's two basic reasons why we have hope. There's two basic reasons why we, in our present condition, can look to the future and go, I have a certainty, I know gonna going to happen. Here's the two reasons. Number one, because Jesus prayed for it. Now let me ask you a question. Do you think Jesus' prayers get answered? I hope, you better say yes.

Because if His prayers don't get answered, there's no hope for anybody. So do you know that Jesus prayed for us seeing His glory? Let me read it to you. This is John 17, Jesus is praying to the Father, "I do not pray for these disciples alone but also for all of those who will believe in Me through their word," that's all of us. "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them that they may be one is we are One. Father, I desire", here's His prayer request. "I desire that they also, whom you gave Me, may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."

That's His prayer that you'd see His glory. Do you think you'll see it? Uh huh. So that's number one, He prayed for it. Number two, He did something to ensure it would happen. You know that was? Resurrection, His Resurrection from the dead. When Jesus got up from the dead it proved that anything else He promised is possible.

Because He said, they're gonna kill me and I'm gonna rise again from the dead. He kept saying that. And so when He died and rose again from the dead, the Resurrection, I mean, every promise He ever made is possible, right? That's why Peter referred to the Resurrection or based his hope on the Resurrection, calling it a living hope. Let me read to you. This is Peter, I Peter chapter 1, verse 3, "In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Let me frame this for you.

You know Peter did for a living, right? He was a fisherman. So here's Peter's, here's Peter's daily life. And he wasn't like, a fisherman on weekends. This is his job. He didn't have the bumper sticker, you know, I'd rather be fishing, because he wouldn't. But he got up in the morning early, went out to the Sea of Galilee, fished all day, went home at night, went to bed. Repeat. Got up in the morning, fished all day, came home, went to bed, repeat.

Did that every day so his life was pretty routine, pretty predictable, can I even say pretty boring. And I bet he's throwing that net out on the Sea of Galilee, even thinking from time to time, is this all there is to life? Fishing, working? Is this all there is? Then one day a man came into his life named Jesus. He said Peter, you got a new job. I'm gonna make you a fisher of men.

Peter's life changed that day. He started following this rabbi around Galilee. He started listening to His messages, watching His miracles. A hope welled up in Peter he had never known before. His life was so exciting, so hopeful, this is awesome, it lasted three years, and then something happened. He died. And when Jesus died, Peter's hope died with it.

All of the disciples' hope was dead. Jesus had risen from the dead, his disciples didn't know it. He's walking on the road to Emmaus with two of them. They don't know it's Jesus. He goes up to them and says, what are you guys talking about? He goes, oh, we're talking about this guy named Jesus, and He did things and He said things and He was awesome, and listen to what they said, and we had hoped in Him, past tense. Not we have hope in Him, we had hoped in Him. Their hope was dead.

Same with Peter. All that hope dead. But then something else happened. The dead guy got up. There was a Resurrection of that dead Messiah. And when Jesus resurrected from the dead, hope went ballistic. Hope debuted on that day. And Peter had a hope that he calls a living hope through the Resurrection of the dead, a hope that would never die because Jesus conquered death and He would never die.

So what that means is all of the promises that Jesus had made, they're true. He said things like, I am the Resurrection and the Life. He said things like, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He said, he who hears My Word and believes in Him who sent Me will have everlasting life. He said. Because I live you will live also.

Now all of a sudden that there is a Resurrection, those aren't just nice spiritual words from a religious dead guy. Those have real meaning. If He can get up from the dead, every single promise He made about everlasting life is possible. So it's a living hope. So we know it to be true, therefore we have hope. We rejoice in the hope, the certainty of the glory of God. So we have an immediate benefit, a continuing benefit, and we have an ultimate benefit. We have the past, we have the present, we have the future.

But wait, there's more! You know how those commercials go? They advertise something and then you go, oh, that sounds pretty good. But wait! If you order now we'll double the order! And that's sort of what we have here. Look at verse 3, "And not only that," which is funny. Not only that? You just said we get peace with God, access to God, and Heaven. And not only that! There's more.

"But also we glory in tribulations knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, perseverance, character, character, hope. Hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us."

It's great that in the past we have peace with God, in the present, we have access, in the future we have glory, that's all great. What about in the meantime? What do, what about between now and then? What about all the hardships we go through? What about all the confusing times? What about all the pain? What about all the heartache? What about all the suffering? He calls it tribulation. Tribulations.

Well, first of all, it tells us that salvation isn't a fairy tale. It tells us that when you go to the prayer room and you receive Christ, from that moment on it's not like you go and live happily ever after and never face a hardship. No, you have tribulation. In fact, it's a promise. Jesus said, in this world you will have tribulation. Of all the promises in the Bible you underline, I wonder if you underline that one. Do you want a promise of God? That's one. "In the world you will have tribulation." But it continues, "But be of good cheer for I have overcome the world."

So here's the deal. Justification is not an escape from trials but it is a guarantee that those trials have purpose. It's a guarantee that those trials will work for you, not against you, that all things indeed work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. By the way, the word tribulation, the English word, comes from the Latin word tribulum. Can you hear it? Tribulum.

Tribulum was a big piece of wood with spikes that ran through it and they would run it over grain to separate the wheat from the chaff. It'd be tied to an animal, drug over the grain, the chaff would be separated from the kernel, the nourishing part, the wheat. So trials, tribulations do that for us. It's a good analogy. It separates what's unimportant and what's important. You go through tribulation, you go through trial, it's not for nothing. They work for you because they produce, notice the list, perseverance, character, hope.

So what are we to do with these tribulations? Does it say, therefore we grit our teeth and bear it? Does it say, we clench our way through it? No, it says we glory in tribulation. Who does that? The NIV says we rejoice.

What it means is we take our trials by the throat, look at them in the face and go, Thank God for you! And I'm seeing question marks. I'm hearing crickets. You're going, oh, come on. You know, it's sort of like, hey, I'm going to the dentist! Why are you so happy? Well, all my teeth are falling out, I'm in a lot of pain, and though I know he's going to stick a needle in my gums and pull stuff out, he's gonna fix things and I'm gonna feel and look really great. So now there's a purpose to the pain. Now there's a purpose to the tribulation.

So we rejoice, we are glorying in tribulation. An unbeliever can never do this. You know why that is? Because to an unbeliever this life is all there is. And if this life is all there is, and if it's now marked with pain and tribulation, then they've lost everything. But for the believer, he's able to do this because no matter how dark the evening gets, the morning is coming. There's purpose in the pain, purpose in the tribulation. It's going to work these character traits and depth into our lives, and besides that, Heaven is on the other side.

This is why we need to be very careful when we say things like, why does God let bad things happen to good people, especially me? It's a question I've heard so many years from so many people. Why does a good God let, allow bad things happen to good people? First of all, you made a lot of assumptions in that question. I'm not going to even deal with the "good people" part of it. Let's just deal with why a good God could allow bad things to happen.

Be very careful what you are calling bad. What you look at as bad might be the best thing for you. Ask Joseph. Did bad things happen to Joseph? He was human trafficked by his own brothers, sold as a slave to Egypt, falsely accused, forgotten. Bad thing, bad thing, bad thing. At the end of it all he says to his brothers, as for you, you meant it for evil but God meant it for good. And here's the result, to save many people alive.

So we, we glory in tribulations. One of my favorite authors is a guy by the name of Samuel Rutherford. And I say favorite authors and I'm referring to one particular book he wrote, The Letters of Samuel Rutherford. He was a pastor in Anwoth in Scotland.

He's buried in St. Andrews, I've been to St Andrews, I stood at his grave. Wasn't much interest in the golf course right next door, but that gravestone was important to me because I had read Samuel Rutherford. When I stood there looking at the grave I had a thought because I had memorized something that he said about trials and tribulations. He said this, "Why should I tremble at the plow of my Lord that makes deep furrows in my soul? He is no idle husbandman. He purposes a crop." Always loved that.

God digs deep and it's painful in my soul but he's planting something and he purposes a crop. He also said, "When I'm in the cellar of affliction I look for the Lord's choicest wines." So good. So being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Being justified by faith, we have access to God. Being justified by faith, we have hope to be with God in glory. And being justified by faith, we have purpose in our trials until we get to glory.

Those are the believer's benefits. So back to the headline, "Sinner Pardoned, Goes to Live With Judge." 18 years old, I made a commitment to Christ. I've never regretted that decision. It's been an adventure and I pray that for you and for me and for us that the benefits that follow forgiveness would be something you're in touch with that motivate you and motivate me to serve Him diligently. Greatest outfit in the world, greatest boss in the world.

Father, thank you for treating me "just if I'd" never sinned, making a declaration and treating me based upon that. Thank you, Lord, that the not guilty verdict has been made and now I have peace with You, I have access to You. I have the happy certainty of glory with You and all the in-between moments that don't make sense will have purpose in Jesus' name.

Are you Human?:*