God's Roadmap

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in his wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in his eyes (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 TPT).

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The True Nature of God - Is it Judgment or Mercy?

by Barbara Latta

The true nature of God - is it judgment and punishment or mercy and grace?
The true nature of God - is it judgment or mercy?

Actually, it is both. But the difference is which one do we operate under?

The Bible gives us two covenants God made with mankind. The first which we refer to as the Old Testament, or Covenant, and the second is the New Testament.

Despite the fact that the New Testament tells us of Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection which gives us victory over sin, many people still refer back to the Old Testament when approaching God.

Hebrews 8:7 tells us, For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. The old covenant was a shadow of things to come and the new covenant is the fulfillment. That is not to say that we need to throw out Genesis to Malachi. These accounts are given for our learning and admonition (1 Corinthians 10:11).

But when we think God is still dealing with our sin and behavior the same way He did during Old Testament times, we are not approaching our heavenly Father using the power Jesus died to give us.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God had to banish them from the garden because of His mercy. Had they eaten of the tree of life in their sinful state, they would have lived forever with no hope of ever being released from the torments of sin. God did not turn his back on them. He was still talking with them and giving them instruction. After Cain killed his brother, God was speaking to him and putting a mark on Cain to keep him from being killed by others (Genesis 4:15).

How else did they know how to make sacrifices and do the other things they needed to do if God had totally stopped talking to them?

It wasn’t until the law was given on Mount Sinai that the harsh punishments for sin and stringent requirements came into being and that was because the Israelites continued to rebel. God put laws into place to show them the only way to approach Him was through the perfection of keeping the law. The purpose was to get them to depend on the Lord because no one could keep these requirements.
Let us therefore come boldly before the throne of grace.

Jesus is the only man who ever earned right standing with God through keeping the law perfectly. Because of that, the law was then fulfilled and no longer had to be kept in order to approach God. Faith in Christ puts us in the position of having these requirements kept for us and we are not under the pressure to continue to perform.

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).

God character never changes. He was the same in Genesis as He is now. The requirement for sin was death. But because of His mercy, an animal was substituted until Jesus laid down His life on the altar as the sacrificial Lamb. To stay true to His Word, God could not just sweep sin under the rug and pretend it didn't happen, there had to be punishment. In the Old Testament, the animal received the judgment. When Jesus came, the punishment was meted out on Him instead of us. There was still judgment for sin, but mercy for the sinner - us. 

Jesus told His followers if you have seen Me you have seen the Father. Jesus was the epitome of the character of God. He never broke the laws of Moses, yet he administered mercy to the adulterous woman. He forgave her, but did not condone her actions (John 8:11).

He healed on the Sabbath day, yet He was not breaking God’s law. He was showing them what the law was meant to do. Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27).

When we understand God’s true character is love, mercy, compassion, grace and kindness, we can approach Him boldly and bring our requests before His throne. The fact that He judged sin actually shows His mercy. He didn't want us to stay that way.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Share your thoughts and let us know what you think. 


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