The Gospel Illustrated Through My Five Year Old Daughter

by Nick Lotter on January 7, 2013

The GospelIt’s Thursday morning, about 7:30 am. Four days is all that remained of our holiday. My wife and I are lazing in bed, enjoying one of the perks of being on holiday while we still can.

My niece of 11 years old had slept over at our house the night before. My 10 year old son and her were still fast asleep when my 5 year old daughter came to our bedroom to say good morning. She wasn’t there long before climbing off the bed, presumably to go and wake her brother and cousin. Having the sixth sense that all parents seem to possess, my wife and I knew what she was planning. I called her back to the bed.

“Eden, where are you going?” I asked her.

(In a shy, quiet kind of voice) “I am going to the kitchen” she replied.

“Don’t wake Daimon and Kayleigh. Let them sleep.” I told her.

So off she went. One minute had not yet passed since Eden had left the room and our son walked into our bedroom and jumped onto our bed. Eden had woken he and his cousin.

My wife and I have always tried to be consistent in our approach to discipline and correcting deliberate disobedience such as this, but Eden is so cute when she has just woken up! Kids will be kids and we know it is exciting for children to have cousins stay over, but we don’t like to allow any rebellious sort of behavior go unpunished. We of course recognized that this was not necessarily rebellion, but the sort of mischief a child gets up to when their excitement is just too much for them. Nevertheless, one must be consistent. So I called Eden back to our bedroom and spoke to her in a soft but stern voice.

“Eden, did you wake Daimon and Kayleigh?”

She nodded her head, looking down at the floor.

“Didn’t I tell you not to wake them up?”

Silence.

“Eden, when I tell you not to do something, I expect you to listen to me. I told you not to wake them up, but you went and woke them up anyway. Now you have to be punished.”

(Crying) “I’m sorry daddy!” Eden has the cutest face when she is crying.

“Now come to Daddy.”

She walked slowly over to my side of the bed, crying inconsolably, tears streaming down her face. She repeated over and over, “I’m sorry Daddy!” She knew she deserved to be punished and walked obediently towards me, even though she dreaded the consequences of her actions and what was to come.

By the time she had reached my bed, I was overcome with feelings of mercy and grace. Instead of punishing her, I picked her up into my arms and hugged her tightly. She was still crying, but she squeezed me back – the kind of hug a father just loves getting from his little girl in the morning.

“Eden, are you going to listen to Daddy?”

“Yes!” she sobbed.

“Are you going to disobey Daddy again?”

“No! I’m sorry Daddy!”

“Its OK my girl. Daddy loves you!”

“I love you too Daddy!”

The Grace and Mercy of God

At this moment, I couldn’t help but think of the Gospel, and the great love, grace and mercy of God towards His children. Here I was, being gracious and merciful to my daughter who deserved to be punished for her deliberate disobedience. Her behavior though, was not even that bad; one could say that this was the typical mischievous behavior one would expect from a little girl excited to see her cousin and big brother and just couldn’t wait a minute longer.

Yet for me it was a good feeling to be gracious and merciful to her, to forgive her and hug her rather than punish her for her actions.

I thought of how much more vile and abominable our sins are against God, of how much worse our rebellion is against not just another man, but against the Creator and Eternal God. How amazing and astonishing it is, that the God of all creation, Who holds all power and all authority, Who commands the oceans, the planets, the stars, the mountains and nature itself, in Whose hand sits all that is in existence, would be so gracious and merciful to forgive the rebellion of something as weak and arrogant as a human being.

I mean, how arrogant are we, that we would dare to sin against the God of all the universe? We, who cannot even take our next breath if God does not to give it to us, dare to rebel against Almighty God and deliberately disobey His commands?!

Yet God forgives us.

How utterly astonishing is that?!

Just as I was gracious and merciful to my daughter, God is gracious and merciful to everybody that calls on His Name and repents.

The Similarities

The similarities between my incident with my daughter and the way God handles our sins are quite clear.

I gave my daughter an instruction, which she disobeyed knowing full well that what she was doing was forbidden. God has set out in Scripture very clearly how we ought to live and how not to live, and none of us have any excuse for disobeying God. Even if somebody has never heard of Jesus Christ or the Bible, God has given every man, women and child a conscience which tells us when we are in sin.

Romans 1:19-20 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

When I confronted my daughter about her disobedience, she immediately broke down and apologized, even crying with remorse for what she had done. When we sin against God, our conscience is pricked and when the Holy Spirit moves on us, we are brought to our knees in remorse over our sin and in repentance to God.

John 16:8 And when he (the Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:

When I saw the sincerity of my daughter’s apology and her remorse for not listening to me, I was moved to be merciful and gracious to her and to forgive her – to put away what she had done and welcome her into my arms and show her how much I love her. When we sincerely repent of our sins and call upon God to forgive us and cleanse us from sin, God shows His great love for us by being gracious and merciful to us, wiping the slate clean and forgiving us of all trespasses, and welcoming us into His loving arms.

Romans 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

The Justice of God

There is, of course, one glaring difference between the type of mercy and grace I showed my daughter, and the grace and mercy that God gives freely to those who love Him. If you haven’t noticed it and don’t know what that difference is, there is a good chance you do not understand the Gospel.

The biggest difference between the way I treated my daughter, and the way that God treats us, is that my treatment of my daughter was NOT just, while God’s treatment of us is always just.

I was not just in my treatment of my daughter.

Still don’t know what I am talking about? Then, my friend, you still don’t know the true meaning and message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The predominant culture of today portrays God mostly as a loving God Who loves us and forgives us no matter what we have done wrong. While God IS a loving God, God is also Holy and the Judge of all mankind – something the world tends to forget.

As Judge, God must judge justly, and see that justice is done for every act of rebellion and sin. Because God is eternal and the Almighty Creator, the punishment for sinning against God is very serious.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

The punishment for sinning against God is death. Not just any death, but eternal suffering of death and torment in the pits of hell. To state it as simply as I can, the punishment for any sin against God, whether great or small, is always death.

When I was gracious and forgave my daughter for deliberately disobeying me, I was not just because I did not punish her for her actions. I simply showed her mercy and forgave her, just like that.

Were there any consequences for her actions? Although they were presented to her, they were not carried out. Was there a punishment handed out which was appropriate for the crime? No. Did I therefore see that justice was done? No, I did not. My dealing with her, though loving and merciful, was not just.

If a judge in the courtroom were to forgive every criminal who came through his doors, pleaded guilty and apologized for his actions, without handing down a sentence, the entire population would be up in arms calling the judge corrupt and unjust.

Why, then, would we suppose that God simply forgives our sins – which are infinitely more heinous because of Who God is – without being just and seeing that justice is done?

The reality is this – in order for God to be just and see that justice is done, He cannot forgive us. He must do justice – He must punish the sins of every human being, He must go through with His promise to punish sin with death.

So how does God do this? We know from the Word of God that God is merciful, loving, kind, gracious and forgives those who confess their sins and repent. But we also know from the Word of God that God is Holy and Just. How is it possible for God to forgive and justify sinners, and still be just?

The answer can be found in the Bible, and is explained by the Apostle Paul:

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 3:24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Romans 3:25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
Romans 3:26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.

The most important word in this scripture is PROPITIATION.

The greek word in the original manuscripts is HILASTĒRION – an atoning victim. A propitiation is a sacrifice – a sacrifice made by Somebody who stands in the place of the guilty and becomes their scapegoat, and takes all of the punishment that they deserve. A propitiation is a sacrifice that atones for the sins of the guilty, and satisfies justice.

Jesus Christ was put forward by God as a propitiation for us. All of the punishment and wrath of God that we deserved, was placed on Jesus Christ – God’s Son. He stood in our place on the cross, all the sins of mankind placed on His shoulders, and He suffered the full weight of God’s wrath and justice against sin. As a result, the justice of God has been carried out, and God can forgive us for our sins and yet still be just.

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

The Gospel message is clear and glorious. God is Holy, Just, Loving, Forgiving, Merciful and Gracious. He loves us so much that He not only forgives us, but He paid the price of our sins for us by dishing out the punishment we deserve onto His only Son Jesus Christ.

The price of our sins has already been paid, the justice for our rebellion against God has already been carried out. What is there left for us to do?

Mark 1:14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,
Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

What is your response to God’s mercy and grace?

 Romas 3:25 says that God’s grace is a free gift, to be received through faith. Repent of your sins, turn away from your sins and follow Jesus Christ. Believe in Him and believe in the Gospel, and you will be saved.

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