The escape route

19) Is there any way to escape punishment and be brought back into God’s favour?

Yes, to satisfy His justice, God himself, out of mere mercy, reconciles us to Himself and delivers us from sin and from the punishment for sin, by a Redeemer.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to our own way;
And the LORD has laid on him
The iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5,6)

The bad news

“No-one can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for them.” (Psalm 49:7)

Every single one of us is a hardened rebel, estranged from God and under a sentence of death. We cannot change our human nature, and we cannot break away from the stranglehold of sin. Even if we strive to be righteous, we will inevitably fall short of the perfection that God’s pure holiness demands (Romans 3:23).

The good news

“But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;
He will surely take me to Himself.” (Psalm 49:15)

All through the history of His people, God has demonstrated how He is able to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. When He commanded Abraham to make a sacrifice, He provided a lamb (Genesis 22:8,13). Whenever the Israelites were overwhelmed by enemies, God provided them with a deliverer (Judges 2:18). And in the same way, because the human race cannot overcome the tyranny of sin, He Himself has paid the price for our reconciliation (Romans 3:23,24).  

Create a clean heart within me, O God,
So that it may become Your chosen shelter
And the resting place of the Holy Spirit.
             (from Celtic Daily Prayer: Holy Communion)

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