Psalm 81:11-12 (ESV)

“But my people did not listen to my voice;

Israel would not submit to me.

[12] So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,

to follow their own counsels.

When Israel got stubborn in their sin and refused to return to God, God’s eventual response was to let them do what their evil hearts told them to do. Many people think that freedom is the ability to do whatever you want. But Psalm 80:12 tells us that the ability to do whatever you want is a sign that God has given up on you.

A child who is never disciplined, corrected or taught, is a child who is not loved or one whose parents, in frustration have given up on because they simply cannot make any progress anymore. The ability to do whatever they want is an indication that a people are under the judgement of God, that they are left alone by God to do whatever they want. License to sin means that God has given up on you.

This is precisely what Romans 1:28 tells us.

28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

God’s mercy is not eternal. There actually are people and cultures who are beyond the mercy of God whom God has given up on and who are guaranteed eternal judgement just as sure as if they were already in it. This is truly frightening.

People should not presume upon the mercy of God. There is no evidence in the Bible that God’s mercy is always available or always wanted. There is plenty of evidence that it is not. The tragedy of this grows worse when we consider that God holds out His hand of mercy to a stubborn and rebellious people every day. What He offers is vastly superior and better for people than anything they have chosen instead. People choose things that will hurt them and eventually, God allows them to have it.

Of course, only God knows who is beyond His mercy. Our job is to make sure it is not us, by responding with repentance to God’s correction.

Also, Christians should never presume to know who is beyond mercy. God puts us in our culture and puts people in our lives with the task of influencing them for good with the Gospel message and Gospel living. The people you rub shoulders with day by day are not in your life by coincidence. God put them there.  Today, thank God that He preserves whole cultures through the faithful living of His people. Make your small corner of the world a better place.