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God as He is
- Jacob Ninan
Have we wondered why God who once asked Moses to execute a man who had disobeyed the Sabbath law by collecting wood (Nu.15:32,35) and killed Ananias and Sapphira when they lied to Peter about the price they had sold their property for (Ac.5:3-5), does not do such things nowadays? It is not that God has changed--as some people think--from being hard and strict to being loving and kind. No, God does not change. He is eternally the same. It is also not that He shows different sides of His nature at different times. (It would be terrifying if it were like that because we would never know what to expect!) He is loving, merciful, just and righteous at the same time. He cannot stop being loving, just as He cannot stop being righteous or just. It is that He always does what is good for us, and what we need for our good varies. We may imagine that it would be nice if God would always show His love and mercy to us and never showed His anger towards sin against us! But we have to agree that sometimes it is good for us to be shaken up a bit, rebuked or even chastised (He.12:10;Ps.119:71).
In these new covenant times we tend to take God's love for granted and treat His grace cheaply (Ga.5:13). Since God has chosen not to punish us as soon as we sin we think there is no punishment involved (Ecc.8:11). We know that if we confess our sins God will forgive us (1Jn.1:9). But do we think that it doesn't matter so much if we sin because we can always confess it afterwords (Ro.6:15)? This is not so much about what we think but the attitude we have about sin and God. If we have heard only about the love of God and His forgiveness and nothing about His hatred towards sin, we don't know God as He is (1Co.15:34).
Grace is a magnificent thing. There has been nothing like this in all the world till Jesus came. Through grace God shows us His love towards us who do not deserve it. He takes sinners who repent from their sins and puts their trust in Jesus, washes them with the blood of His Son, makes them white as snow, agrees not to remember their sins against them any more and to forgive them when they confess their sins. He transfers blood-washed sinners from Satan's kingdom to His kingdom as His children and makes them co-heirs along with Jesus of everything He has. All this and more with grace. We can appreciate the magnitude of His grace towards us when we look at examples like that of the man who gathered wood and Ananias! If we don't suffer the same fate as they it is just grace!
What should this revelation do for us? Fill our hearts with gratitude? Make us want to please God all the more? Count everything else as worthless compared to getting to walk with this God? Have a strong desire to tell others about this God?
Can we take sin lightly or flirt with it anymore? Do we want to cause more pain to the heart of our God who has already suffered death for us? Can we cheat on grace and disregard His commandments?