Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
God is so good to give us many chances to turn from our sin and to turn to him. Too many confuse His mercy and grace with His toleration and allowance of sin. Although different for each person, one day God’s forbearance for sin will stop and the God’s lesson for us or the consequences of our iniquity will begin.
The sin of Noah’s day was raging. None of it escaped God’s eye. People of the time thought that they had gotten away with it. Their wickedness waxed worse. God saw “that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was evil continually” – Genesis 6:5. God was even sorry that He had created man. It was time for the wage for their sin to be paid and for it to cease.
In all the sinful chaos, God did see one righteous man, Noah. After him, his family, and selected animals were safely inside the ark Noah built, God actions said, “Enough of that sin.” The world-wide flood put an end to their evil-doings. In this case, God’s people were spared the consequences. The man had another opportunity to start over again thanks to one man’s not doing what everyone else was doing.
Man’s sinful nature still remained, however. Iniquity will always be a battle and it continued especially in the twin cities, Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). After tolerating their iniquities for so long, there came a time when God would no longer put up with their sins of sodomy and other sexual sins. It was apparently “enough” for God. Shortly, after God’s own were removed, the city was destroyed. Nothing of life there remained. Grace had ended for their sin.
Jonah also learned that there was a limit to what trespasses God would put up with. Perhaps he thought he had gotten away with his disobedience of not going to Ninevah, as he was commanded. Maybe he even thought his going to Tarshish was an acceptable substitute to God.
Shortly, Jonah learned otherwise. As a pounding tempest pummeled the ship and crew, the wayward child of God learned that God was saying, “Enough. You’re going no further in your sin.” The rest of the story tells how God got Jonah’s attention and how his heart was changed to willingly want to obey his Creator.
In the early church at Rome, there came a time when God’s people felt God’s “enough”, but much differently. They thought they knew better and purposed to ignore His commands. They thought they were so smart. They didn’t receive a lesson to teach them to obey their Father. Instead, the time for grace and second chances had passed. God let them reap the consequences of their own sins. It was like God said, “you want to continue to sin so bad, I will allow it to take its natural course and destroy you.” Three times God stated that He gave them over to their sin.
All throughout the Bible, a merciful God has tried to get His children to do right. Today is no different. He desires that we obey the first time. Many have lost and suffered much because they did not. His goodness in teaching us only goes so far. Some have faced jail, failure in school, loss of friends, accidents, a destroyed marriage, and many other consequences to get their attention to turn to God. God desired them to “learn and turn”. Others have hardened their sinful hearts, and were on their own and reaped devastation.
If we’re saved and trusting in God’s way, we have His promise of Heaven, but even we battle sin. No one in their right mind wants to pay its penalty. When the heart is still sensitive and unhardened is the time to repent of its violation, before God has to deal with it. Be a faster learner in this area, not a slow learner.
Do not confuse God’s mercy and graciousness with a license to sin. No sin is okay. There could be a time at hand where God’s has to say to you, “enough”. Shudder at the thought. Why go through the trials and testings, obey and serve him now. Some, sadly sin without remedy. Obey and repent now before it is too late.