June 10, 2010

happy are they whose transgressions have been forgiven

There was an article in the local newspaper a year or so ago about hell and why it rarely gets mentioned anymore. I received a copy of that article from a member of our congregation with the reminder that every once in a while we need to hear about the consequences of our choices.

Last Sunday, I tried to share with the people of St. Paul's about the consequences of worshiping a false god. Had I not preached that last week and if our small corner of the world wasn't teetering so perilously close to the edge, I might preach on consequences this week.

I hope maybe you will.

I hope that you'll talk about God's grace. About how God spared David from the punishment that David himself had said he deserved. About how God spared the life of Paul and turned him into the greatest Apostle though still a transgressor. About how Jesus forgave the woman her sins by no merit of her own.

But you can't talk about God's grace without talking about why we need it. There are consequences to our choices. When we choose self over God, God lets it happen. When we choose money over God, God lets it happen. When we choose false gods over God, God lets it happen.

But when we choose to live for God, God welcomes us back with open arms. Sure, we might still feel the wrath of our choices, but God's abundant love will carry us through.

The Psalmist writes, "Happy are they whose transgressions have been forgiven..." We can not be happy if we think we have no transgressions. We cannot be happy if we don't want to be forgiven. We can only be happy when we admit our faults and accept God's grace.

We all screw up. We all have forgiveness. But we are not all happy.

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