THE WORD IS
A person's deeds and outward bearing may tell us what type of a person he is. But the outward appearance may also deceive us. Under a rough surface there may be a soft and tender heart. Neither is all that glitters gold. The devil wants to appear as an angel of light - without changing his habits. In God's sight every person has a corrupt heart. The core is evil. "Out of the heart come evil thoughts" (Matt. 15:19). Even a believer has a heart like this by virtue of his old Adam. It gives us no peace, but must be crucified through daily repentance.
God is righteous. There is no wrong in Him. He always does what is right. God does not gently stroke the head of the evil doer, nor does he minimize the seriousness of sin. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things (1 Thess. 4:3?6). God knows the human heart. He desires truth in the innermost being.
But how can we be reconciled to God?
We are not acceptable to Him as we are, and we cannot make ourselves better. We find the answer in God's heart, which He has revealed to us: "I have loved you with an everlasting love", He says (Jer. 31:3). God is not just a God of wrath, but also a God of grace and love. The love that burned in His heart was so great that He gave His only Son to bear our sins and to atone for them. In Jesus Christ "we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7).
Do not look for peace in your own heart but rather look into the heart of God. You will see God's heart revealed to you at Golgatha, where Christ shed His blood as the payment for your sins. You will see Christ in the Word of the Gospel and in the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Christ has once and for all suffered the wrath of God in our behalf. He is now our Mediator and by trusting in Him we can reach our heavenly home. "He who believes in the Son has eternal life" (John 3:36). No one is acceptable to God without Christ, but having been baptized into Christ, we have put on Christ (Gal. 3:27), and in His righteousness we are acceptable to God.