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We all have a natural desire for justice.  That is why so many movies have a basic theme of good versus evil.  The problem is, most movies generally try to masquerade vengeance and revenge as justice.  But we all understand that wrong actions deserve punishment.

Another common roadblock to fully experiencing God’s forgiveness is thinking:

I MUST PUNISH MYSELF BEFORE I CAN BE FORGIVEN

We understand the need for justice.  We understand that when we sin, we create a debt that must be paid.

Romans 1:19  They know the truth about God because He has made it obvious to them.
Psalm 50:6  Then let the heavens proclaim His justice, for God Himself will be the judge.
Galatians 6:7  Don’t be misled – you cannot mock the justice of God.  You will always harvest what you plant.

We may even have a natural desire to receive “punishment” for our sins.  We can feel justified in punishing ourselves with feelings of guilt, rejection and condemnation.  We may even think this will help us earn our way back into God’s favor.

The problem is, we don’t have what it takes to pay the debt that we owe!  This is like a little child who has 25 cents in his hand going to a jewelry store and trying to buy his Mom a $10,000 diamond ring for her birthday.  Our debt is eternity in hell, separated from the God we have sinned against.

Romans 6:23  The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus willingly paid an extremely high price to offer us the gift of forgiveness for our sins.  Our forgiveness is offered freely to us, but IT IS NOT FREE!  It is very costly.  Jesus had to sacrifice His own life to atone (pay the price) for our forgiveness.  The price He paid is completely sufficient to pay for our sins.  His last words from the cross were “It is finished”.  There is absolutely NOTHING we have to offer that can add ANYTHING to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.  He paid it ALL!

Psalm 86:15 But You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
Psalm 111:4 He causes us to remember His wonderful works.  How gracious and merciful is our LORD!
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead.  (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

God’s MERCY is that we don’t receive the punishment (eternity in hell) that we DO deserve.  God’s GRACE is that He gives us blessings that we DON’T deserve.

We mush never continue to try to punish ourselves when God’s Word says we are forgiven in Christ.  If we do that, we are rejecting God’s forgiveness and trying to atone for our own sins… and we have no worthy sacrifice to make.  We can’t afford the price required.  Our ONLY hope is to receive the precious gift of the forgiveness of sin and eternal life offered by Jesus Christ.

We may need to make amends to others we have wronged, which is another topic for another time.  But very briefly… the first step is to confess your sins to God.  Then you ask Him to show you what you need to do to make amends to anyone else you have hurt because of your sin… and then do what God tells you to do!