Why God Pursues Man

dan delzell opinion page

Have you ever felt like God was pursuing you? If so, did it feel like a cop in a police car coming to arrest you, or more like a paramedic in an ambulance rushing to your rescue?

In his sermon on Mars Hill in Athens, the apostle Paul said, "From one man God made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us." (Acts 17:26-27)

So do you view God as a police officer chasing down a suspect, or a paramedic determined to help save you from death? Actually, both ideas reveal aspects of why God pursues man.

On one hand, God is like a police officer pursuing a criminal. You and I are lawbreakers, and we deserve to be arrested by God for our sins against Him. We deserve to be charged and convicted in God's courtroom. Anyone who sins is guilty before God.

This is why Paul went on to say, "God commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)

But if all you know is the "police officer" aspect of God's pursuit, you don't know the whole story. You see, "the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17) When Jesus entered the world, He came to rescue us from our sin and from eternal punishment in hell.

Jesus said, "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." (John 3:17)

In other words, Jesus is like a paramedic in an ambulance rushing to save you from death. Christ came to earth on a rescue mission, plain and simple. He didn't come here to arrest you and throw you in jail. Instead, He came to save you.

"Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." (1 Peter 3:18)

So when you look in the rearview mirror of your life, do you see God pursuing you to arrest you, or coming to save you?

In reality, the police car is right behind you, and the ambulance is right behind it. The purpose of the police car is to slow you down enough for the ambulance to reach you. God wants you to realize your sin so that you will embrace your Savior. He wants you to live with Him today, tomorrow, and forever in paradise. (Luke 23:43) It is not God's desire to lock you up in hell for eternity in order to pay for your sins. (1 Timothy 2:4) Christ took your place on the cross, but it will not be well with your soul until you "repent and believe the good news." (Mark 1:15)

In fact, "God commands all people everywhere to repent." (Acts 17:30) And this is why the police car is in front of the ambulance. You need the fear of the Lord in your heart in order to recognize the gravity of your situation. Allow the police car of God's law to alarm you about your sin and your need for salvation. Without a holy fear of the Lord, you won't repent of your sin as you yield your heart and soul to the King of Kings.

God will gladly allow you to escape the penalty for your sin. Simply call upon the name of the Lord as you give your life to Christ today. If you pull your car over and surrender to God, He will save you. If you keep running from Jesus, you will eventually be caught by the police officer of God's law. It will catch you, convict you, and sentence you to eternal punishment for your sins which are grievous in God's sight. You can avoid that outcome by recognizing the ambulance of God's love that is ready to bring you to the hospital of God's grace. You will be healed and delivered from eternal suffering in hell.

As God continues to pursue man today, do you see love? Do you see justice? Do you see a police officer? Do you see a paramedic? If you see all of those things, you may very well be close to meeting the Lord as you receive God's free gift of salvation through faith.

This is why God pursues man, and this is why the apostle Paul went to Mars Hill to preach the Gospel.

"God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us." (Acts 17:27)

So what do you see if after reading this article, you now suddenly notice God in your rearview mirror?

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

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