“Because sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the human heart is fully set to do evil. Though sinners do evil a hundred times and prolong their lives, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they stand in fear before him, but it will not be well with the wicked, neither will they prolong their days like a shadow, because they do not stand in fear before God.” Ecclesiastes 8:12-13
This statement by the Teacher has multiple meanings for us. First, God’s grace is long term; God withholds judgment in the short term providing multiple ongoing opportunities for sinners to accept His grace. To choose life with God, righteousness over sinfulness. Unfortunately, many take this lack of immediate judgment as approval and continue in their sin. Second, it encourages us to hold each other accountable. Believers hold each other accountable to the standard of Christlikeness while believers share the Gospel with non-believers, tell the story of God’s grace to them, so that they become believers. Ultimately all will be judged by God, ultimately those who fear the Lord, who love God and others and accept God’s grace will live in His grace, moving on to perfection (Christlikeness) and exist in the Kingdom of God. It will not go so well for those who continue in sin, thumbing their nose at God. Grace abounds, grace is forever, yet grace does one no good if grace is not accepted. Choose grace!