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What God Wants to Do To Every Sinner
Allen Webster

“God has no desire to punish a single person. "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, 0 house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 33:11). He wants to have mercy upon all (Romans 11:32) and sent His Son to "taste of death for every man" (Hebrews 2:9).

God has no desire to send a single sinner to the place of punishment. He "is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

So if God does not want to punish sinners, what does He want to do to them?

He wants to hug them. The first thing the loving father did to the prodigal boy was to hug him; he "fell on his neck, and kissed' him" (Luke 15:20). That father represents God and that boy represents a sinner returning from the devil's far country, so a fair deduction is that God longs to—spiritually speaking—wrap His omnipotent arms around each sinner who turns to Him.

He wants to take them home with Him. The second thing the loving father did was to restore the boy to his former position as a son in the family (Luke 15:22-24). Sleep in the servant's quarters? The father wouldn't hear of it. His son would get back his old room at the big house. When God forgives, He restores the offender to his former position of love and grace.

As the Civil War neared its conclusion, the war hawks of the North asked Abraham Lincoln what he would do with the rebellious southerners. He replied, "I'll treat them as if they had not gone away."2 That's what God longs to do, and ultimately He wants all of us to live with Him in the "big house" (many mansions) of heaven (John 14:1-2).

He wants to adopt them (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5-7). The devil is the father of sinners (John 8:44), but God longs to adopt each person into His eternal family. One concept tied to forgiveness is reconciliation, which is a social concept. With sin, we are estranged (separated) from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). In forgiveness, Jesus' blood satisfies God's justice and allows us to draw near to Him as He draws near to us (Romans 3:23-26; Ephesians 2:13; James 4:8). He wants to give us a new name (Isaiah 62:2; Acts 11:26), new standing, new brothers and sisters (1 Timothy 3:15), and an inheritance (1 Peter 1:4).

He wants to heal them. Sin renders our souls sick, cut, and diseased (Isaiah 1:5-6; Matthew 9:12; 1 Corinthians 11:30), but the Great Physician longs to bind every wound, pouring in oil and wine (Matthew 13:15; Mark 4:12). He wants to make us "sound" (2 Timothy 1:7; Titus 2:2).

He wants to pay their bills. Most of us dread the monthly debits and bills that have become a part of most Americans' lives. But there are debts that we incur for which there are no monthly reminders. Our sins have racked up quite a debt in God's court. (The word sin, in its various forms, occurs 825 times in the Bible, and many more times than this in our lives.) Just as violations of civil laws (speeding, fishing out of season, failure to pay taxes) have fines assigned to them, so violations of God's laws get us "fines" with God (Matthew 6:12). These debts will come due on Judgment Day. When God forgives, however, He removes the notation of the offense from His record, (Acts 3:19) and He grants remission of the sin debt (Matthew 26:28; Acts 2:38). When God forgives, He remembers the sin no more forever (Hebrews 8:12). God blots out the knowledge and history of sin (Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 31:34).
He wants to give them a good night's sleep. Oh the agony that many feel in the quiet of the night! They desire to relive life and not make the same mistakes, to be a better person, to fix the hurt they've done to others . . . on and on the mind runs. This longing for release for many manifests itself in seeking to forget with alcohol and drugs, come-and-go sexual experiences, extra hours, work, and the vain pursuit of power, money, and things.

God has a better way to get a good night's sleep. Sin does render us guilty (Exodus 34:7; Romans 3:19; 1 John 3:4) and punishable (Matthew 25:46; Mark 16:16), but forgiveness "justifies" (Romans 3:24-25; Acts 13:38-39). God grants us a full pardon (Psalms 25:11;

Numbers 14:19-20). This means that God no longer holds us accountable for the offenses—the guilt is gone!

The New Testament word forgiveness (apo, "from," and hiemi "to send") literally means, "letting go; forgetting—as though it never happened; loosing from a debt; to send away (as from a debt); to bestow a favor unconditionally." Every bad thought we ever thought is as if we had not thought it; every bad deed we ever did is as if we had not done it; every bad word we ever said is as if we had not said it; and every good deed we should have done, but did not, is as if we had done it.

Jesus never met a man He would not save. Look through the Gospel records and see for yourself. You will never find Him saying, "I wish I could help you, but there's nothing I can do." You will never hear Him say, "Your case is too difficult for me." He doesn't leave any inkling of unwillingness or inability. He died for the sins of the world—all of them. He shed His blood for "the remission of sins"—all sins.

Every accountable person has sinned and therefore is eligible for this treatment from God (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10-23; Galatians 3:22; 1 John 1:8). Many Christians have become weak and fallen back into sin (1 John 1:7— 9) and are thus again eligible for these blessings (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 2:1; 3:5).

Glad Tidings of Good Things
Volume 14 July 10, 2008, page 3