A number of years ago I was speeding down the freeway on my way home from work. I was late, so I was going pretty fast. As I rounded a corner, there was a police officer taking his sweet old time. I came up on him so fast, I knew that he knew I must have been going way over the limit, so I slowed it down just a bit and passed him up.
I was immediately pulled over. He came to the window with a dumbfounded expression and asked incredulously, “What were you thinking passing me? I mean, I’m a cop!”
I didn’t have much of an excuse, so I just told him the truth, that I had been speeding and that he must have known it. Do you think I got out of a ticket that day?
It’s one thing to speed when we think the law isn’t watching us. We can easily get comfortable with a little bit of traffic violation here and there. It’s quite another to go ahead and do it right in their face! That demonstrates a level of arrogance that isn’t going to impress any officer to ignore.
Many people choose to do the same thing with the laws of God. It’s not hard to get comfortable with some ‘minor’ violations here and there, (white lies, blue collar theft, lust, etc.) thinking that God has either accepted our faults or is simply overlooking our offenses. But some people take it to a whole other level. Some people are so hard hearted, they will brazenly and deliberately commit their sin, being fully conscious that the eye of the Lord is on them.
Do you think God ignores this? Some people really do think He does.
See, if I choose to walk in some sin, whatever it may be, conscience will always accuse me that what I did was wrong. At first, I may feel a bit guilty, but if after doing it over and over and over again, lightning doesn’t strike me dead, and I have effectively deadened the pesky voice of my conscience, I might actually convince myself that either God doesn’t care or that He has accepted my behavior.
Nothing could be further from the truth. What’s actually happening is that God, in His great mercy, is allowing me to live as the free moral agent He created me to be. I get to choose my behavior. The fact that He hasn’t given me what I deserve isn’t a demonstration of His apathy towards sin, but of His great long suffering and patience with me. He’s giving me time to repent before He executes His judgment.
2 Peter 3:9 addresses this: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
God wants everyone to come to repentance. The fact that He withholds his anger at sin doesn’t mean He is lazy or that He doesn’t care. He loves people enough to allow them to live and hopefully repent and turn to Him for forgiveness.
Have you taken Him up on His offer? Do it soon, because you aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.