Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Revelation 22:11-13 -- On Restoration

"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."
Revelation 22:11-13

Sometimes I think we expect God to be merciful at the expense of justice... to love and understand us in the same way the mother of a serial killer might--without judgment or restraint.  And perhaps we over-emphasize the loving and forgiving side of God sometimes, in trying to show everyone, and to remember ourselves, that there is always a way back to God, and that he doesn't hate us or cast us away when we make mistakes.  ... And that is all true.  He doesn't cut us off.  As long as we are alive we have that opportunity to change and to repent.  To become a better person.  We have mercy on our side.  However, justice will catch up eventually if we don't take advantage of that offer of mercy.

If we waste our lives and never repent, and never change, then after this life, we get the same thing everyone else gets: restoration.  We are restored to what we chose and who we decided to be.  Yes, God loves us, and yes he fully understands why we chose what we chose, but he isn't going to take our evil choices and make us good in return.  That would take away our choice.  We will be what we have learned to be, and chosen to be.  Natural consequences for everyone.

No, if we just stole a candy bar, we aren't going to burn forever.  But if we stole a candy bar and didn't repent, and we still believed in and embraced stealing as we got older, then we are going to be significantly different from people who recognized that stealing was wrong and repented, and changed, and chose to become honest people.  And so there will be a difference in who we are, and where we are comfortable in the afterlife.

Today, let's stop trying to rationalize or justify our questionable choices.  Let's look at who we are choosing to become, and where we are headed.  If it isn't a good place, it isn't going to miraculously become good later.  Let's turn around now, and start heading for a better place, and be better people.  Let's remember that we get back whatever we choose, and make sure that restoration is going to bring us back some good things.

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