On Thinking Before Posting or Commenting

“I admire people who know when to quit,” essayist Joseph Epstein once opined. Unfortunately, during an election year many people don’t quit . . . posting their thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and God knows however many other social media websites happen to be in existence.

I once heard someone say that reading the opinions posted by commenters on websites made him feel like he had fallen into hell itself. True, that’s overstatement, but the point trying to be made is clear. It’s a rather unedifying spectacle to say the least.

Although I know better, the other day I read the comments posted on a particular website. I went away bothered, grieved, and saddened. Two thoughts came to mind as I’ve reflected on that experience.

We need to take time to pray and think before we post a comment. James writes, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (1:19-20). Note carefully the words: quick to hear . . . slow to speak. We will give an account to God for every word spoken and written. When you read further, you find James reminding readers: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (v. 27). I’m certainly guilty of not always thinking before I post a comment or blog, but I’m thankful that the Lord convicts me, and I’m able to grow from that experience. I’m learning to pray, “God, is it really necessary for me to say this?”

We should stop assuming the worst of people. As I read the comments in the blog I was reading, people made one vicious comment after another, assuming they knew why the person did and said what he did and said. As far as I can recall from my theology courses in seminary, omniscience is not a communicable attribute. Therefore, unless someone tells us why they did what they did, we don’t and can’t know. As followers of Christ, we ought to be characterized by poorness of spirit (Matt. 5:3), mercy (5:7), purity (v. 8), humility (Phil. 2:1-11) gentleness (Gal. 5:23), and, above all, love (1 Cor. 13:1-7). Obviously, we can still confront people; but even that should be done in love (Eph. 4:15). And I seriously doubt whether that can be done by commenting on a Facebook post (or other social media site).

Paul tells us that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Frank Thielman’s comments on this verse have always stuck with me: “Love believes the best of others and hopes the best for them.” If readers judge such words as naïve, then I hope I’m willing to be naïve.

Maybe today you’ll resolve to think before you post. I think that would be a wise decision. After all, in the words of the inimitable Carl Trueman, “not every thought that sparks between the synapses in your gray matter needs to be written down.”

Suffering and the Need for a Theological Interpretation of Life

All human thinking must be subject to some kind of norm, some kind of criterion against which to measure our thoughts and actions. If we don’t, we’re left swimming in a sea of subjectivism, which will lead inevitably to nihilism. (The fact that proponents of moral relativism do not embrace nihilism proves that their worldview is unlivable. The way they actually live their lives proves they know better.[1]) But having their thoughts constrained by some kind of norm is the one thing many contemporary people do not want.

Writing in 1958 theologian J. I. Packer observed that fallen, sinful human beings “cherish” a “craving for a thought-life free from the rule of God.”[2] Rather than constructing an interpretation of life informed and constrained by the Word of God, we seek to construct “a private interpretation of life out of the resources of [our] own independent judgment.”[3] As a pastor, this is a pressing issue because one of my goals is to help people interpret their life experiences through the lens of the Bible. Indeed, this is a major part of my calling.[4]

Given that our culture’s current way of understanding life and the world is quite different from the premodern period, one wonders how we got here.

How We Got Here

Well, the very short answer is that, for a number of reasons, during the modern period people lost confidence in the Bible while confidence in human reason grew. Renè Descartes exemplified this assurance in human reason when he wrote, “Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed.”[5] For a number of reasons, however, confidence in the autonomy of reason eventually waned. In fact, the postmodern critique of the Enlightenment can be quite vicious.[6] Although one would not necessarily want to embrace all of postmodernism hook, line, and sinker, the purveyors of the worldview have at least reminded us “that humans cannot live by mind alone.”[7]

Nevertheless, if human thought is not subject to any criterion, what else can we live by? As you move forward in history, this loss of confidence in human reason ran up against pluralism, a word used to describe the fact that not all people in all places of the world think and reason alike. Competing worldviews abound. When pluralism met relativism they mated and gave birth to our present state of affairs: No confidence at all in human reason.[8]

So, what’s happened? The renowned expert on modernism, Charles Taylor, spelled it out for us in his 700-plus page book A Secular Age. He notes that the modern person does not get his or her sense of “fullness,” or meaning outside of himself because he does not believe that truth or meaning exists outside of the mind. Nothing exists beyond this world; transcendent realities are a farce; therefore, human beings look within themselves for meaning.[9] This turn inward has led to people creating new self-undestandings. Add this to the fact that America is no longer a community-based culture, and one can easily see how we have become an aggressively individualistic and narcissistic people.[10] We look inside ourselves to find ourselves and then express ourselves; hence, the phrase “expressive individualism.”

As an aside (but nevertheless germane to this discussion) expressive individualism is present in the arena of sexual expression. For instance, some people find the language of sexual orientation unhelpful and offensive since it smacks of determinism. Instead, they argue that people should use the phrase sexual preference because it “keeps sexual expression in the realm of choice.”[11]

What’s Needed

We need a theological interpretation of life. I can’t know myself until I know who God is and how I’m supposed to relate to him. I won’t take time to defend this thesis. Instead, I want to address a key issue in everyone’s life: suffering.

More than any other issue, during incredibly challenging seasons of life we are tempted to disbelieve in God and doubt his love and care for us. But why is that? One reason is because at heart we’re all legalists. We all naturally think that if we live a good life, God owes us health, prosperity, and an above average lifestyle.[12] Even as Christians we fall prey to this kind of thinking. In turn, when adversity strikes, rather than running to God, we run away from him.

However, if we interpret our life experience theologically—biblically, that is—we get a completely different picture. While I may feel that God has abandoned me, I can know that he hasn’t. His Word tells me that no matter what happens, he never withholds his love from me (Ps. 66:20). He will never leave me nor forsake me (Heb. 13:5-6). His plan is still to prosper me (Jer. 29:11). His love never fails (Ps. 109:26) and nothing can separate me from his love (Rom. 8:31ff.).

Far from abandoning me, in every circumstance of life I’m living out God’s faithfulness to me. He’s keeping his promise to conform me more into the image of Christ.[13] Every trial is a fresh “opportunity to forsake self-reliance” and “a reminder that there is nothing life-giving in this mortal body but only in Jesus risen from the dead.”[14] He is our only hope! Such a truth often proceeds out of our mouths as a perfunctory matter, but when we’re in the pit we feel our need for this truth more than ever.

We don’t come to know who God is by evaluating our experiences. Our personal feelings and experiences are not a strong enough foundation on which to build a doctrine of God. Doctrine interprets life. Theology interprets life.

As Alister McGrath says, “Doctrine aims to interpret experience, in order to transform it. . . . Doctrine interprets our feelings, even to the point of contradicting them when they are misleading.[15]


Doctrine is anything but cold and sterile. Theology leads to doxology because it informs, forms, and shapes our lives. God’s Word shows us how to interpret and respond to all of life’s various circumstances, all the vagaries of our existence, all the curveballs thrown at us during our earthly pilgrimage.


[1] I think John Piper is right: “People don’t embrace relativism because it is philosophically satisfying. They embrace it because it is physically and emotionally gratifying. It provides the cover they need at key moments in their lives to do what they want without intrusion from absolutes” (Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God [Wheaton: Crossway, 2010], 102).

[2] J. I. Packer, Fundamentalism and the Word of God (1958; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990), 171.

[3] Ibid., 139.

[4] See, e.g., M. Craig Barnes, The Pastor as Minor Poet: Texts and Subtexts in the Ministerial Life (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), 89; Kevin J. Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan, The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2015), 107, 109, 112, 114.

[5] Discourse on Method and the Meditations (trans. John Veitch; Amherst: Prometheus, 1989), 11.

[6] Roy Porter, The Enlightenment, Studies in European History (NY: Palgrave, 2001), 8. Trace the footnotes to their original sources.

[7] Dennis P. Hollinger, Choosing the Good: Christian Ethics in a Complex World (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 122.

[8] I highly recommend Steven D. Smith’s book The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010), 17, 65-67. I should note at this point that while Christians affirm the reality of the noetic effects of sin (i.e., that the fall effects the way we think), we do believe that because human beings are created in the image of God, God has endowed us with the ability to think, reason, communicate, and comprehend what is written or spoken. See, e.g., John Bolt, “Sola Scriptura as an Evangelical Theological Method?” in Reforming or Conforming? Post-Conservative Evangelicals and the Emerging Church, eds. Gary L. W. Johnson and Ronald N. Gleason (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008), 62-92. Nevertheless we also believe that “Sin creates a moral deficiency within us by which we are indisposed to truth” (R. C. Sproul, John Gerstner, and Arthur Lindsley, Classical Apologetics [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984], 51).

[9] Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007), 15.

[10] Ibid., 22, 35, 42.

[11] For more on this discussion see Ted Peters, Playing God? Genetic Determinism and Human Freedom (NY: Routledge, 2003), 103.

[12] Tim Keller calls this “the basic premise of religion” (The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism [NY: Riverhead, 2008], 189).

[13] David Powlison, Speaking Truth in Love: Counsel in Community (Winston-Salem: Punch Press, 2005), 67.

[14] William R. Edwards, “Participants in What We Proclaim: Recovering Paul’s Narrative of Pastoral Ministry,” Themelios 39:3 (2014): 455-469. See esp. 463.

[15] Alister E. McGrath, Studies in Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 262-263, emphasis mine.

Why Obedience Is Important

In one of my devotional books I was asked to answer the following question: Why is obedience so important in the Christian life? Without intending to be comprehensive and/or fully nuanced, here’s what I wrote down:

Obedience to God is important because it reveals that my heart has been made new. God gives us new hearts “so that” (purpose clause) “you will love the LORD your God” (Deut. 30:6; cf. Ezek. 36:26-27). God writes his law on our hearts (Jer. 31:33) so that we come to love his law (Ps. 119:97). A believer’s heart yearns and thirsts after God because his love is better than life (Ps. 63:1-3). His smile and approval is what satisfies us. Therefore, his law is our delight (Ps. 119:77); we love his law “above fine gold” (Ps. 119:127), and the cry of our hearts is “I am yours; save me” (Ps. 119:94).

To be clear: Our obedience is not a begrudging obedience; it springs from joy—like a person finding treasure in a field, who then “in his joy goes and sells all he has” (Matt. 13:44-46). A person with a new heart cries with the Psalmist “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound” (Ps. 4:7).

Additionally, God promises to bless us in our obedience (Deut. 5:33; 28:1; Josh. 1:8; Prov. 10:17 to cite but a few). To be sure, this doesn’t mean that life will always be rosy; it may bring persecution and possibly even death. Even then, we walk by faith (2 Cor. 5:7), knowing that we are more than conquerors in Christ (Rom. 8:37) and that nothing can separate us from his love (v. 39). No weapon formed against us can prosper (Isa. 54:17). Death, therefore, is not the worst outcome. We have no lasting city here anyway (Heb. 13:14).

Finally, it’s important to note that while faith without works is dead (Jas. 2:17) and faith working through love is what believers have been liberated to do (Gal. 5:6), it’s not the basis of my right standing with God. Believers are right with God because of Christ’s obedience—both active and passive (Rom. 5:19). As Paul notes, Christ “became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).

Theologian Sinclair Ferguson sums it up eloquently: “The Lord of the law has rewritten the law of the Lord onto our hearts by his Spirit. Empowered from within by the Spirit of the law-keeping Jesus, we love the law because we love the Lord.” (Taken from his article “Oh How I Love Your Law!”).

I’ll close with a portion of a prayer written by the gospelicous Scotty Smith based on Rom. 4:4-8:

Dear heavenly Father, this Scripture contradicts everything we assume about the way life is “supposed to work.” We expect to get what’s coming to us. We demand fairness—an honest return for our labor, time, and sweat. But the gospel flies in the face of conventionality, predictability, and normalcy. To which we cry, “Hallelujah!”

Thank you for not being fair with us. Thank you for being outrageously generous, immeasurably kind, and scandalously good. What we could never earn—your perfect righteousness, you have credited to us as a gift. What we fully deserve—to be dealt with according to the wages of our sin, you will never do so. What we cannot imagine—that you would justify ungodly people, you have joyfully and legally done.

Because of Jesus’ perfect and finished work, our transgressions are forgiven (all of them), our sins are covered (every one of them), and you’ll never hold us guilty for them. King David called such people “Blessed.” Because we are among “such people,” we are humbled and grateful, and free beyond our wildest imagining.

Cultivating an Appreciation for the Church

If you had told me as a kid that I would spend my life pastoring a church, I may have punched you in the face. Not really, but I certainly would have thought you were crazy. (I suspect my friends would have as well, since they somewhat routinely tell me they can’t believe I’m a pastor.)

At sixteen, when I felt called to ministry, I never would have expected that I would be a pastor in this kind of cultural environment. No, I’m not talking about the decline of Christian values (though that’s true), but about the depreciation of the church among those who are (at least by profession) Christians. As I study the Bible, three things stand out to me as for why I should love and appreciate the church.

God desires to have a people. From Genesis to Revelation, it’s clear that God desires to dwell among a people and be glorified through a people. We see this in the opening chapters of Genesis (1-2), but we see it most clearly in God’s covenant with Abraham, what Paul Williamson calls the Bible’s “magna carta,” given its prominence in the biblical record.[1] God calls Abraham to be the father of many nations, and from him came a nation—Israel, God’s holy people. Additionally, throughout the OT we read of people coming from other nations to worship Yahweh (Ps. 67, 87). These texts make clear Yahweh is not some tribal deity. He is the one and only God who desires people from all nations to come and worship him alone. Hence, he “shall inherit the nations” (Ps. 82:8). And more specifically, he will exercise his rule through the Messiah, the descendent of David, established in Zion who will have “the nations as [His] heritage” (Ps. 2:8). The NT reveals unequivocally that the Messiah in the line of David is none other than Jesus Christ (Lk. 1:32-33).

Jesus came to earth “to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (Jn. 11:51-52). In Acts 20:28 we’re told that Jesus shed his blood not just for individuals, but for a people—a body of believers. Moreover, in the NT, passages that originally applied to the nation of Israel are now applied to the church (2 Cor. 6; 1 Pet. 2:9, citing Ex. 19:4-6). Promises made are now promises fulfilled. The church, therefore, to quote theologian John Frame, is “the continuation of Israel.”[2] In the new heaven and new earth, God will dwell among his people and be forever glorified as their faithful, covenant-keeping God (Rev. 21:3).

God’s desires to be glorified through his people. It’s somewhat of a truism to say that God desires to be glorified through his people since he does all things for his glory (Isa. 48:11; Eph 1:3-14) and desires for his people to glorify him (1 Cor. 10:31). But we read something incredible in Ephesians: God’s glory, Paul says, is displayed “through the church,” since through it “the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10-11). Did you catch that? God’s glory is on display through the church. This should make us yearn to be part of God’s church.

Of course, we must also note that God is glorified through his people’s good deeds (Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:12). As a body of priests (1 Pet. 2:9), we engage “in the priestly service of the gospel of God” as we bear witness to Christ through word and deed (Rom. 15:16). In this as well we see the continuity of God’s purposes among and through his people. Just as Israel’s calling was “fundamentally missiological,”[3] so also is the church’s (Matt. 28:18-20). Thus, Michael Morales notes, “Matthew 28, then, is but the embrace of the inheritance promised in Psalm 2.”[4]

God cares for his people. God cares for his people through the Body of Christ. To be sure, this happens through what we might call “the official ministries of the church”: Preaching, teaching, discipling, disciplining, counseling, and ministries of mercy. At the same time, this also takes place through the members of the congregation. Paul writes in Gal. 6:1 that those who are “spiritual” are to restore people who have fallen into sin.

While more could be said, it seems clear from biblical revelation that the doctrine of the church should be located within the larger framework God’s work of salvation.[5] Our discipleship takes place within the context of a local church.[6]

For these reasons (and many more) believers should join a local church and commit themselves to it.

Yes, the church is flawed and imperfect in many ways (it’s filled with sinners!) Yes, sadly there are mean and abusive people in the church. There are bullies. Such people should be confronted, as Jesus instructs us (Matt. 18:15-20), and called to repentance, and disciplined properly. God’s people should be characterized by humble service (Mark 10:43-45) not haughtiness.

Everything in this world is characterized by brokenness, but we have Jesus’ promise that the gates of hell will not prevail (Matt. 16:18), and we look forward to the day when the church, as the Bride of Christ, will be presented spotless to Jesus at the marriage supper of Lamb (Rev. 21:2). Until then, join the rest of us plodders.


[1] Paul R. Williamson, Sealed with an Oath: Covenant in God’s Unfolding Purpose (Downers Grove: IVP, 2007), 77.

[2] John M. Frame, Salvation Belongs to the LORD: An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Philipsburg: P&R, 2006), 235.

[3] Stephen G. Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible (Downers Grove: IVP, 2003), 76.

[4] L. Michael Morales, “The Great Commission in the Old Testament,” Tabletalk 38:4 (April 2014): 9.

[5] Some of this language is borrowed from Lyle D. Bierma, “Infant Baptism in the Reformed Confessions,” in The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism, ed. Gregg Strawbridge (Philipsburg: P&R, 2003), 244.

[6] Jonathan Leeman, Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 24-26.

Favorite Way to Spend a Lazy Day

This is the first post to a new blog series I’m planning on starting. It started in Target, where I saw notebook with the words “300 Writing Prompts.” Since I enjoy writing, I thought I would pick it and see what I found. I’m going to post my answers to some of the writing prompts.

Here’s the first one: What is your favorite way to spend a lazy day?

In truth, no lazy days exist for me. I like to be productive on my days “off.” For me this means getting up at 4:30AM, drinking Spark, going in my basement and journaling through a devotional I’m working through at the moment (Thomas a Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ). I follow this up by doing my Bible reading for the day and recording my thoughts in my journal.

Then I usually go to the gym and lift weights for about thirty minutes, followed by a three to five mile run. When I get home I wash up, get some food, and then it’s back to the basement. I usually finish up the morning completing the reading I need to do for my DMin program.

After all this I usually spend time with my wife and children, running errands and having all kinds of fun.

This is how I typically spend my days off. This is my version of a “lazy day.”

Pain and Betrayal

Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. . . .  But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Tim. 4:9-10, 17-18).

Life is full of detours . . . bumps in the road. But in the midst of the mess God is making something beautiful. Problem is, we can’t see it while it’s happening; we only glimpse it in hindsight. The challenge, however, is making it through the twists and turns without being swallowed up by a spirit of cynicism.

In the verses above, Paul informs us that pain and betrayal are part of life and ministry in this fallen world. We would wish it were otherwise, but God has chosen to allow these moments to come into our lives to shape us, to make us into the person he wants us to be. As I read these verses this morning in my devotions, three thoughts came to mind. (If you read this blog often, by now I assume you’re not surprised by this.)

God is telling a story. Psychologist Dan Allender makes the point that not only is God our Creator, he’s our Author; that is, he’s writing a story with your life. Not only is he the supreme Architect of all the lives of all people, he’s the supreme Architect of your life as well. When I realize that God is telling a story with my life, I am more apt to pay attention to the pain he’s allowed into my story and ask what he wants to teach me. I ask him, “Why have you allowed this, God? What do you want me to learn? What are you trying to teach me?”

God is in control. We know this but we don’t know it. When I’m in my right mind, I pull from Genesis 50:20 and Romans 8:28 and remind myself that, although the pain someone has inflicted on me was not right, God must have allowed it; and if he allowed it then there’s a purpose for it. If I had it my way, I would always have a trouble-free life, but thankfully God knows what I need better than I do. It takes faith to believe that, of course. God will do what is necessary to draw me into closer communion with himself. And if you’re anything like me, your prayer life is stronger and more consistent in times of trial. Unfortunately, it takes hard days to show me my pride and self-will.

I love these words by Paul Miller: “At the center of self-will is me, carving a world in my image, but at the center of prayer is God, carving me in his Son’s image.”

How you respond is important. When someone brings pain in my life, I’m faced with a choice. I can respond in kind or I can respond in love. Jesus tells me to love my enemies and pray for them (Matt. 5:43-45). Similarly, Proverbs 25:21-22 reads: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”

When we respond in this way to pain and betrayal we can begin to write a new story into our lives and into the lives of others. In this way we serve as signs and agents of the new creation.

Stop the Requiem

She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her (Lam. 1:2).

She defiled herself with immorality and gave no thought to her future (Lam. 1:9).

Lord, see my anguish! My heart is broken and my soul despairs, for I have rebelled against you (Lam. 1:20).

A question friends and former mentors often ask me is how pastoral life is different from what I expected. I always respond by saying that I was naïve regarding peoples’ lives before entering ministry. Showing up on Sunday mornings and exchanging pleasantries with people for a few minutes, asking the obligatory, “How’s everything going?” and hearing the superficial answers doesn’t give you an insight into the details of one’s life. The truth is people are hurting; they’re depressed; their home life is a wreck; their marriages are crumbling; and parents are distraught due to their children’s destructive decisions. This is real life. We live in a fallen world.

Reading through Lamentations 1 this morning brought three thoughts to mind.

Sin always leads to disappointment. Lamentations was written after the fall of Jerusalem. Despite God’s warnings, the people continued to live in sin; they continued to trust in their foreign allies to protect them, their “lovers” as Jeremiah calls them in verse 2. But now that the peoples’ lives are in shambles, she (Jerusalem) “has none to comfort her.” Hear this: Sin always over-promises and under-delivers.

I’ve experienced this in my own life and seen it countless times in others’ lives. People start using drugs recreationally and end up addicted. Their lives are destroyed and they lose everything. Others pursue more sanitized versions of destruction. A wife walks out on her husband and children on some pursuit to “find herself,” motivated by her reading of Eat, Pray, Love, without any thought to what she’s leaving behind.

You climb to the top of the mountain but find yourself drowning in a flood of regrets.

Sin should lead to personal grief. We all sin. And as believers in Jesus Christ, we still sin. But verse 20 should be the cry of our heart when we do: My heart is broken and my soul despairs, for I have rebelled against you. After David was confronted about his adultery with Bathsheba, he wrote Psalm 51. If Psalm 32 is connected to this event (as many scholars think), David’s words in verses 3-4 should be the experience of every believer living in sin: For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

Simply put, a believer who is living in sin should be the most miserable person you know. If not, then we have reason to question such a person’s profession of faith. After All, John writes, No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God (1 Jn. 3:9).

Sins can be forgiven. This is the beauty of the gospel. In it we hear the declaration that sins can be forgiven, that one’s transgressions can be wiped away. What would you say if I told you that every sin you’ve ever committed could be forgiven? If you’re thinking correctly you would say, “That sounds too good to be true.” But it’s the message of the gospel.

Why? Because Christ came to earth to live the perfect life that none of us could live. Sin brings death (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23). But Christ faced death on our behalf so that we wouldn’t have to. If we cry out for forgiveness and ask God to come into our lives and forgive us and change us, he really will.

Basking in God’s abundant forgiveness, David wrote: He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

 God brings life out of death. He makes beauty from ashes.