Chapter Thirteen: “How God Treats His Erring Children” (13:1)

What do you think it will be like, someday, to stand in the presence of the Infinite One and realize that He knows everything about us—and I do mean everything? Even if we are among the saved, will we be comfortable to spend eternity with Someone who knows us so well? Our answer to these questions depends on the kind of person we believe our God to be. In this chapter we will again consider the most convincing evidence that God is not the kind of person His enemies have made Him out to be; arbitrary, vengeful, unforgiving, and severe. The evidence of how He treats His erring and troubled children points to a God who is infinitely powerful, but equally gracious.

One day we all will stand before God, whether we are saved or lost. Forbid the thought, but if anyone should die before finishing this chapter, the next moment of consciousness for that person would be face to face with God. The Bible states this clearly in many places; this is one of the most vivid:

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it. . . . And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. . . . And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done (Rev 20:11-12, RSV).

Even if we are among the saved, will it be comfortable to spend eternity with Someone who knows us so well? Even though we have been forgiven, we all have been sinners. Paul is very clear about this in Romans 3: “There is not even one who is righteous. . . . For all have sinned, and all fall short of God’s glorious ideal” (Rom 3:10, 23, TCNT). So even though we are saved and forgiven, will God haunt us with the memory of our sinful past? As I’ve already mentioned, the answer depends upon the kind of person we believe our God to be. All through Scripture God has spoken to this question, not in claims and promises alone, but with evidence and with demonstration. And surely the most convincing demonstration was provided by the way Jesus treated even the worst of sinners.

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