Today I am building on a Facebook post by one of our college students, Amanda Aicher. She posted:
“God is just AND merciful.
Seems impossible for Him to be both right? Wrong. God is a loving God. He does not want anyone to spend eternity separated from Him in hell. But if a man is tainted with sin, God cannot overlook that. He is too holy to even look at sin. And unfortunately we are born sinners. God is just. He must deal the punishment we deserve.”
Exodus 34:6-7 says, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,keeping steadfast love for thousands,forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty.”
Interestingly, in this verse the Lord declares himself merciful but then says later that he “will by no means clear the guilty.” This should alarm us…if God is merciful, then the guilty should remain unpunished, right??? But he says that they will be punished. This can be confusing to some and is the great paradox of God. How can God be both merciful and just? Is it possible?
But that begs the question: Is God merciful?
We see all over scripture where God sheds his wrath upon people after people. At times it seems as if he isn’t merciful at all. We can’t forget one important event: the atonement of Jesus.
Amanda also wrote this paragraph:
“But God is also merciful. He wanted to provide a way to save us from sin and death. So He sent His only Son to die for us. Jesus Christ died for you, so that you could have an opportunity to spend eternity in heaven with God! Jesus rose from the dead three days later and defeated death so that through Him, we may live eternally. There is absolutely nothing we can do to get ourselves into heaven. It’s ONLY through accepting Jesus as our Savior and accepting that He covered every sin.”
This is what mercy looks like. It is fulfilled and contained in our Savior Jesus Christ. He took the wrath of God and at the same time bled mercy out on every Christian.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” – Romans 5:8
The mercy of God was made evident in the cross of Christ. Take away it and you don’t see the merciful God that we have today. Thankfully, we are loved by Him through His Son Jesus.