There are many problems with what passes for American Christianity in 2019 but no doubt one of the most egregious doctrinal errors that many hold to is the idea that God can overlook sin. How do I know this? Quite simply because of how many professing Christians conduct their lives. Whether it’s immoral relationships, wicked entertainment, profanity or any number of various sins, America is full of professing Christians who commit these sins are a regular basis with little if any desire to make things right. Yet many will find themselves warming a pew on Sunday morning, raising their voices (and hands) in worship to God and even offering sincere prayers to Him for help and guidance. Yet they live on in their blatant sin with the idea that God isn’t too concerned with how they are living. Whether a genuine believer can live like that for very long is a topic for a different day but suffice it to say that this is a very common attitude among modern-day Christianity.
However, in two of our passages today, we are reminded of the fact that sin must be punished. In Acts 5 we read the familiar story of Annanias and Saphira. This couple lied to the apostles about the amount of money they had received from the selling of some land. They were not required to give all or even necessarily any of it (besides the tithe) to the apostles but they agreed to lie about the proceeds that they had made. And what was God’s response to their lies? Quite simply, God killed both of them essentially on the spot. Why God acted so harshly with their sin is certainly up for discussion but either way the fact remains that God responded very swiftly and harshly for their sin.
Then in Jeremiah 14 we read about some false prophets who were “tickling the ears” of the children of Israel by saying that God said, “Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.” (vs 13) However, God responded by pronouncing judgement on these false prophets and instead establishing the fact that God was indeed going to judge His people for their rebellion and sin against Him. He was tired of their meaningless forms of worship as long as their hearts were not in tune with Him. This is why the words mercy and grace mean so much to the genuine believer. Sin MUST be punished but God does promise mercy and forgiveness for those who will come to Him. Thank God for His mercy!