Get Real and Come Home
Joel 2:12-13 (NLT)
Get real! Enough with outward displays of piety. Do business with God. Get honest with yourself. God was never looking for religious observance. He wants nothing more than your entire heart! He see through every act of superficial religiousness. He sees into the very darkest parts of our hearts. He is eager to bring the light of His salvation into those darkest parts of our hearts.
Return Home! You were created by and for God. No where else will ever bring that deep sense of coming home, like returning to your Creator. He longs for you to enjoy that unbroken fellowship like Eden. Coming to the cross is a return. It is a return to where we were always meant to be. A return to the relationship God intended between creature and Creator.
What is this God like? This Creator that is calling us back to himself. He is merciful. He is a God that shows unmerited favor to us. He is compassionate. He feels intimately all of our deepest hurts. He is filled to overflowing, and wants to see us healed and freed. He is slow to get angry. His love is long-suffering. Though we fail and fail again, yet he remains faithful. He stands ready to embrace us each time we fail.
You can be sure God will punish sin. As sure as the sunrise, we know that he will punish evil. However, he is eager to relent. If we approach him in humility and repentance, he is eager to relent. He has punished sin at the cross for our sakes. He doesn't want to punish us, and he is eager to relent and welcome us home.
Those who ultimately face judgement, are those who couldn't bear to submit to God in this life. They want nothing more than pure independence from God. Ultimately, God will give them everything they have ever wanted. An existence in complete independence from God and away from his presence.