The following police comment was reportedly taken from an actual police car video: “Warning? You want a warning? O.K., I’m warning you not to do that again or I’ll give you another ticket.”
This comment reminded me of how I think a lot of people view God. We live in a country where most people say they believe in God. And most people (according to polls that have been taken) say they believe in heaven and hell. So, why does it seem that so few people have a faith that demonstrates itself in the way they live? My theory is that most people see God as a police officer who looks for faults in our lives, but, because He is such a “good” God, he only gives warning tickets.
I think most people view judgment day going something like this: “Sir, I clocked you exceeding the limit with lustful thoughts and sinful actions in a purity zone. Then I clocked you exceeding the limit with resentment in a forgiveness zone. But I tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to just let you off with a warning this time, so go ahead and enter the gates of heaven. Just don’t do it anymore!”
Don’t misunderstand me. God is a God of love, grace and forgiveness. But it is a forgiveness found only in the blood of Jesus Christ. It is a grace that should make a difference in the way we live. And we dare not forget that God is also a God of justice and righteousness. We may be receiving some “warning tickets” in our lives right now, but if we continue to live our lives in a refusal to follow Him, the day is coming when the penalty will be much more severe.
“Since you are stubborn and don’t want to change the way you think and act, you are adding to the anger that God will have against you on that day when God vents his anger. At that time God will reveal that his decisions are fair. He will pay all people back for what they have done. He will give everlasting life to those who search for glory, honor, and immortality by persisting in doing what is good. But he will bring anger and fury on those who, in selfish pride, refuse to believe the truth and who follow what is wrong.” (Romans 2:5-8)
Alan Smith, Helen Street Church of Christ, Fayetteville, NC