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A Lesson in God’s Grace:
God’s Restorative Justice
If a person commits a heinous crime, we want Justice! We want the criminal to be caught and punished justly; for the punishment to be equal to the crime. (And sometimes we want the criminal to suffer even more.)
God’s Restorative Justice goes far beyond our sense of justice, our sense of fairness, further than our comprehension and understanding.
God’s Restorative Justice pays back “evil” with “goodness.” We all fall short of the Kingdom of God, and God loves even the criminal. That doesn’t mean that God loves the criminals words, actions, and deeds, and in no way does it suggest or imply “Universal Forgiveness” even though that is God’s prerogative. And in no way does it suggest or imply that there are not consequences for disobedience and sin. But it is suggesting and implying that God’s Love transcends and surpasses all understanding. Thanks be to God.
But God does NOT want the criminal (the sinner/us) separated from Him by sin. God woos, calls, and beckons us back to Him. Coaxing and encouraging us to repentance. When and if we make our free-choice to honestly and sincerely with all our heart repent (convicted of our sins) and ask God for forgiveness – we are forgiven (Saved) and we are shaped into a right-relationship with God - Salvation! Salvation through the Loving, Forgiving, Restorative Grace from God that we do NOT deserve, that we did NOT earn, and that we did NOT merit!
Love, Forgiveness, Grace, and Salvation are ALL FREE GIFTS FROM GOD that we do not deserve, earn, or merit.
The worst example of being judgmental is when we become self-righteous and condemn others!
God is not a god of condemnation
"For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world
to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.
God is the God of Love, Forgiveness, Grace, Mercy, and of God’s Restorative Justice. God does NOT want us to be in bondage. God is the One who leads and brings us out of bondage.
What is holding you hostage?
Is debt strangling you, holding you back, holding you hostage?
What are you a slave too?
Addictions? Drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, gambling....
What are you a prisoner of?
Are you a prisoner of work? If you are a workaholic and work 24-7 you are a prisoner to work. Are you a prisoner of money?
Whoever loves money never has enough money;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.
What is holding you in bondage?
Fears? Poverty? Debt? Addictions? Education? Health? Career?
5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
6 "Therefore, say to the Israelites: 'I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
Are you in Exile?
Sins? Unforgiveness? Estrangement from loved ones? Greed? Blind Ambition?
Self-centeredness? Self-righteousness? Pride?
7 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods….
2 Kings 17:7
Are you Lost in the Wilderness?
Depression? Doubts? Fears? Anxiety? Problems? Do you feel Hopeless?
3 A voice of one calling:
"In the desert prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
God is the One who led the Jews out of Egypt; out of Bondage.
God was with them in the Wilderness for forty years:
21 By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.
God wants the prisoners freed.
God wants us to be free from Bondage!
God does NOT want us in prison, in “Bondage to sin.” God wants to set the prisoners of sin free! God wants to restore a right relationship with us.
God wants us to be rehabilitated, to repent earnestly, honestly, and sincerely of our sins (convicting grace).
God wants for us to be restored and brought back into a right-relationship with Him (justifying grace) which is Salvation.
God wants all of the “Lost Sheep” found, the “Lost Coin” retrieved, the Lost Prodigal Son brought back home and restored to the Father.
How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost,
but now am found,
was blind, but now I see. John Newton
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
There is no condemnation in “The Parable of the Lost Son” (The Prodigal Son) by the Father (God). No preconditions had to be met by the “Lost Son” to receive God’s love and grace. See the Bible Basics Study of The Lost Son: Struggle with God.
In the Gospel of Luke 10:25-37
The Parable of the Good Samaritan, the robbed and injured man was helped with no regard as to why it happened; NOT believing that the injured man got what he deserved because of his sins. No preconditions had to be met by the injured man to receive God’s love and grace. See Bible Basics Study of The Good Samaritan at: Parables of Jesus.
Also in the Gospel of Luke 17:11-19, Ten Healed of Leprosy, the ten lepers did not have to meet any preconditions to receive the God’s love, grace, and healing. See the Bible Basics Study of the Ten Lepers at: Struggle with God
“Grace” with “Preconditions”
is NOT Grace at all!
“Grace” that you have to work for, earn, merit,
IS NOT “Grace” at all.
God’s Grace are God’s Gifts
freely given to us
that we did not deserve, earn, or merit.
What are we called to do?
...And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak
and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good,
to build him up.
If anyone has material possessions
and sees his brother in need
but has no pity on him,
how can the love of God be in him?
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue
but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:17-18
16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
1 John 3:16-24
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. (menial work) Do not be conceited. (proud, self-righteous, judgmental)
17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
20On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."
(from Proverbs 25: 21-22)
21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
We get the conception that we are NOT
to wipe out God’s enemies by killing them; we are to wipe them out by converting them.
This "New Paradigm for God's Justice" BLOG is not a soft cozy place to be comfortable! This "New Paradigm for God's Justice" BLOG is to purposely make us uncomfortable; to challenge our Faith, to challenge our thinking, to encourage us to walk into deeper waters, to get out of our cozy "comfort zone," and "to do something!"
We are NOT called to be complacent, lethargic, luke-warm Christians! We are called to go out into the world, to "tell the 'Good News' of Jesus Christ," to make a difference! God does NOT place people in our paths for us to ignore and to walk-around like they do not exist. God puts people in our lives for a purpose!
This "New Paradigm for God's Justice" BLOG is NOT going to be politically correct! In many respects you may disagree with what I am saying (no problem)... I am NOT trying to tell you what to think... but I am trying to make you think... to challenge your thinking. Sometimes we need to be able to defend our beliefs,
(even if we only need to defend our beliefs to ourselves), to review, renew, and to reaffirm our beliefs.