Saturday, July 4, 2009

PUNISHMENT FOR SIN -- Acts 12:19b-23 NIV

Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there a while. He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon ; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. Having secured the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king's country for their food supply.

On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

It's pretty obvious that Herod was an evil man. He did many evil things. He came from a long line of evil men. As powerful as he was, he was set on self-destruct from the beginning. Finally, God had enough of putting up with Herod when this evil man allowed himself to be called a god and gave the one true God no credit whatsoever. So God struck him down in a most horrible, painful and disgraceful fashion. Herod was literally eaten by worms from the inside out. Can you think of anything more painful or horrible? I can't. In the end, Herod was punished for his sins. He is spending an eternity in hell, but he got an early start through the manner of his death.

Why? Because Herod refused to acknowledge God, to surrender to Him, to ask for forgiveness for his sins. Herod enjoyed his sins. He liked being evil. He loved his power, his ability to control others, his wealth, and the adulation he had from others, even to the point of calling him a god. Herod had never repented from any of his sins, and God knew he never would. So God punished him for his arrogance and evil, beginning with a horrible, painful and disgraceful death.

Although sometimes it seems that He doesn’t, God does punish sinners… unrepentant sinners. Sooner or later, every unrepentant sinner will get his, if not in this life, then certainly in eternity. But there is good news… Jesus. When a sinner repents… when he turns away from his sin and turns to Jesus for forgiveness, the sins of that person are wiped away. Gone. They don’t exist any more. God can no longer see those sins because they are covered by the blood of Jesus.

So, no matter what you've done... no matter how evil your life has been... if you turn away from whatever you've done… if you turn to Jesus for forgiveness, you are a new person - a brand new person. From that moment forward, every evil thing in your past is gone forever in God's eyes. From that moment forward, you can give praises to God for what He has done in your life and look forward to a life filled with His redemptive purpose.

"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25 NIV

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:12 NIV

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