In our study of how God treats sinners, we are considering the use of the word sinner as it is used in contrast to faithful believers. Contrary to what some religious creeds say, not every thing that sinners do is reprehensible; some things sinners do are actually worthy of imitation. However, in matters such as we consider today, they do not go far enough. Consider the words of Jesus which follow immediately.

“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6.31-36).

From the cited text, it is apparent that when sinners love those who love them, do good to those who do good to them, and lend to those who lend to them, they do the right thing; they ought to do all these things. However, these actions are not the model of righteousness that God approves; they do not go far enough! Sinners, in contrast to those whom God approves, do not love their enemies in the manner demonstrated by God. Sinners do not follow God’s character in how they treat one another!

On the other hand, God is “…kind to the unthankful and evil.” In looking at how God treats sinners, all some people see is God’s harshness or sternness towards sinners. However, there are literally thousands of blessings from God’s hands that they overlook. Even sinners are born into and are allowed to live on God’s good earth! In this environment they enjoy many if not all of the same physical blessings which are enjoyed by the faithful. In spite of how sinners treat their Creator, He continues to cause His sun to rise and set on them every day. Regardless of the tendency of sinners to fail to acknowledge God’s goodness, He continues to provide growth and healing in their physical bodies. Despite the fact that sinners frequently deny God as Father, God honors His laws of physical procreation and grants lovely and marvelous offspring to even the vilest of sinners. In these ways and in ten thousand others, God is merciful to the unthankful and evil!

Believers know that God treats sinners this way. We know this because we understand that “…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5.8). The blessings which God extends to sinners are virtually unlimited; the fact that they refuse to accept the greatest of these blessings doesn’t change the facts. If God is willing to extend the greatest blessings (i.e. spiritual blessings) toward all of mankind, it follows that He would of necessity be gracious in the less important things (i.e. physical blessings)!

Questions:

1. For those who have access to word study tools, what is the Greek word which translates credit in Luke 6.32-34? What is the significance of that word in this context?

2. God is kind to the unthankful and evil. How does that relate to our primary study?

3. How does God demonstrate His kindness towards sinners? Physically? Spiritually?

4. How does this picture of God differ from common perceptions of Him?