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The goodness of the Lord
- Jacob Ninan
God is so loving that He is even called love (1Jn.4:16). If He wasn't, none of us would be even alive, because His righteousness and justice would have destroyed us because of our sins. His mercy triumphed over His judgment (Jas.2:13). It is not that He neglected the part of His nature that requires us to be judged. But His judgment was placed on His Son, because of which we have escaped it. And now He is able to show us love and mercy. His character of holiness and righteousness that requires us to be judged hasn't been suppressed. But God found a way to show His wrath over sin at the same time as He shows His mercy!
If we have fallen into sin, Satan is quick to come as an accuser (Re.12:10), and tell us that God is surely angry with us now. Satan is mixing up things in our mind. When we think of God's holiness and His anger towards sin, we are tempted to think that God must be angry with us. By pressing this idea into our mind, Satan tries to keep us from remembering that God's wrath towards our sins (past, present and future) has been put on Jesus when He hung on the cross. What God shows towards us now is His love and mercy without measure (Ro.5:8).
'False grace' directs us to think only about the love and mercy of God and tells us to avoid looking at our sins. Legalism tells us to think only about the righteousness of God while reminding us that we don't deserve any mercy from Him. But we ought to be aware of the righteousness of God as well as His mercy towards us, and how God has resolved the paradox through Jesus on the cross.
The man who has a tendency to take the grace of God for granted needs to get balanced with the knowledge of the righteous anger of God towards sin. The sensitive Christian who trembles before God and wonders how God could actually love a sinner such as he is needs to get soaked in the knowledge of God's undeserved mercy towards sinners who repent and put their trust in Jesus.
Someone has said that Satan has a way of preaching the very part of the truth that a man doesn't need to hear at the momemnt, while hiding the part of the truth he needs to hear. He preaches grace to one who takes it for granted, and the righteousness of God to one who is trembling with fear because he has fallen into sin.
It is possible that we, as individuals, may swing from one side of the truth to the other at different times in our life. We may take sin lightly or we may feel like giving up when we fall. But God's desire is that we learn to hold both sides of the truth together, in their balance, and not look at either of them while neglecting the other. If we fall into sin, we need to admit and confess it, and repent from it. But we also need to be grateful for the undeserved gift of forgiveness so that we don't lose courage. We can rejoice in the knowledge that God has forgiven us, while we should not forget the fact that we are still sinful, imperfect people who need the grace of God badly.