Trinity Lutheran Church McAlester

Why would God forgive a murderer?

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God our Father is generous, abounding in blessings, overflowing with love, and sharing of all good things with us that He might save us to live in His eternal Kingdom.
Jesus told the disciples about a vineyard owner who hired workers at different hours of the day (Matthew 20:1-16 ESV). When it was time to pay them, he gave each the same pay. Now, one who had come to work early expected to get more than the last hired. But, the owner replied, “’Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius [a day’s pay]? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ [And Jesus noted:] “So the last will be first, and the first last.”
Sometimes I run across a person who has been an unrepentant sinner his whole life but shortly before dying, he hears the Gospel and converts to faith. I have had people say, “It is not fair that he is in heaven. You don’t know how bad he was.” But, the point Jesus is making in Matthew 20 is not how bad the last worker was and how little he did for the kingdom, but how good God is and how He has made the man new in Christ. God is generous beyond belief. His loving kindness endures forever. The Bible tells us that “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
The person who begrudges God’s right to save people (even murders, child molesters and terrorists) does not understand the meaning of grace and its purpose to save sinners of all kinds who hear the Gospel and repent. On the other hand, I sometimes hear at funerals that such-and-such certainly earned a place in heaven by his good works. That is dangerous talk. If someone thinks he earned a place in heaven, the likelihood is that he is not going there. Jesus said, “So the last will be first, and the first last.”
The greatest in the kingdom is the “last,” the person who knows that he is most needful of grace and mercy from God. He loves much, because he knows that he has been forgiven much. “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner!” Amen.

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