Criminally Cute

Romans 5:12-21
Just as sin ruled over all
people and brought them
to death, now God’s
wonderful grace rules
instead (v.21).

Giddy with delight, my young son Elias slipped out
of the room that served as a temporary nursery
to newborn kittens. His mother had warned
him not to touch them, so she asked, “Did you touch the
kitties, Elias?”
“No!” he said earnestly. Mom wasn’t fooled, so
she probed a bit further. “Were they soft?” “Yes,” he
volunteered, “and the black one mewed.”

In a toddler, such duplicity is cute. But Elias’
disobedience underscores our human condition. No
one had to teach the 4-year-old fabricator to fib. He lied
because such self-centered behavior is as natural to us
as breathing. “I was born a sinner,” wrote the songwriter
David in his classic confession. “Yes, from the moment my
mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). The New Testament
adds this: “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world.
Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone”
(Romans 5:12). That depressing news applies equally to
kings, 4-year-olds, and you and me.

Scripture passages that point out our hell-bent tendencies
could leave us feeling hopelessly guilt-ridden. But, by
God’s grace, there’s hope! “God’s law was given so that
all people could see how sinful they were,” wrote Paul. “But
as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace
became more abundant” (Romans 5:20).
We sometimes have a vague view of God behaving
as a divine policeman, waiting for us to blow it so He can cuff us and curtail our
freedom. But the one who accuses us is not God. Rather, it’s our archenemy the
devil (see Revelation 12:7-10). Our heavenly Father is all about grace, forgiveness,
and restoration. We have only to come to Him in faith and repentance.

The happy conclusion is this: “There is no condemnation for those who belong
to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). —Tim Gustafson

According to John 3:16-
18, what is the reason
God sent His Son Jesus
into the world? What
does it say is not the

Do you see God as
eager to forgive or quick
to judge? What does
the Bible say about His