by Rick Warren — February 1, 2021
From When You’re Hoping for a Miracle
“[God] will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.”
Psalm 103:9-10, 13 (NLT)
Every time you disobey God, you hurt yourself and you hurt other people. You lose your fellowship with Christ. You lose your effectiveness and joy here on earth. You lose rewards in heaven. But you do not lose your salvation.
Why is that? Why doesn’t God just kick you out when you blow it? Why doesn’t God reject believers when we sin?
The first thing to understand is that God’s love is unconditional. He doesn’t say, “I love you if” or “I love you because”—just “I love you. Period.” God will never stop loving you, because you are a recipient of his grace.
Lamentations 3:22 says, “[God’s] compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction” (TLB).
Your salvation isn’t based on your performance. The Bible says, “He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5 NLT). You can’t earn your way into heaven, buy your way into heaven, work your way to heaven, or bluff your way to heaven. The only way you ever have any hope of getting into heaven is by the grace of God.
Jesus has already taken your punishment. The law of double jeopardy in the United States criminal justice system says you cannot be tried for the same crime twice. That’s true in God’s book, too. People are not punished for the same sin twice.
Over two thousand years ago, Jesus stretched his arms out on the cross and took the punishment for your sin. He served your term. The price is paid in full—all you have to do is accept the gift of forgiveness and salvation that he offers!
Jesus understands your human weaknesses. God is sympathetic and understanding. He knows your frailties, your faults, and how you’re wired. And he is patient with you.
“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15 NLT). Jesus lived in human flesh for 33 years, so he understands your weaknesses.
God doesn’t keep grudges! The Bible says, “[God] will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:9-10, 13 NLT). If you are a believer, God is not angry with you. Why? Because all of the punishment was taken on the cross.
You may be thinking, “You don’t know how far I’ve fallen. You don’t know what I’ve done.” No, I don’t. But God does. If you think you’ve strayed too far from God, this is what God says to you: “Come back to me, you unfaithful children, and I will forgive you for being unfaithful” (Jeremiah 3:22 NCV).