We get so caught up in the mercy of God that we forget the holiness of God.
Listening to some of the soon to be graduates from seminary, there is a trend that is being pushed that even the future pastors believe: God does not punish.
It is claimed that God is so merciful that He no longer reprimands or diciplines. In fact if you spoke of the consequences of angering God to these people their response would be, ‘oh, but you must not forget how merciful God is.’ Or, ‘you must not judge your life on old testament values.’
That’s crazy people. Jesus said that He did not come to erase the law of Moses, the old testament still holds value.
Yes, God is merciful. He even says of Himself that He is the God of mercy. But. God sent rules to live by. He told us what were sins and displeasing and despicable to Him and He told us that we were not to do such things. He also warned us about continual sin without repentance and willingness to change. And that is not simply old testament; Jesus warns about these things too, but we somehow manage to skip over those verses to the nice ones where He talks about having power and peace through His Spirit. If you don’t love Him enough to follow His laws then do you really have His Spirit? That’s a little harsh isn’t it? Okay, let’s go back to the nice parts where Jesus gives us the B attitudes, yes, now we feel good. Have you ever kept reading past the nice blessings of the B attitudes? Jesus gives a famous sermon on how you can miss or gain the kingdom of God. We can lose our saltiness, we can dim our lights and we can hide behind believing that God is a God of only mercy and never anything else. All love and kindness and no power; fluffy clouds and cherubs, not keys of death and seraphim. We can’t fall into that. Yes, the thought that God will let us do whatever we please and we still get to go to Heaven is nice and relaxing, but it is a false belief. God is all powerful! I realize that for a long time the Church preached that God was a dictator and nothing but power and authority and skipped the mercy and love of God, that was wrong too, but at least with that we learned the fear of the Lord, what value does a God who lets you get away with everything and then blesses you abundantly just because you’re you have? Sounds like a trick to me. And that’s because it is. It’s a trick of the devil to destroy you. The devil has set up a big glowing version of Jesus, that blesses and loves and lets you be whoever you want to be without consequence of actions, so that you stop following the real Jesus and turn to this easy on the conscience, fake version instead.
Now. I am not in anyway saying that God is not all loving and all merciful, but He is also all powerful and He warns us that if we disobey He will punish us because He loves us. God wants every single soul to make it to Heaven, but Jesus didn’t die so you could go and have fun without worry of repercussions. He died so that the Vail would be torn and you could be a friend of God and not a slave. But. God is our father, and as a good father He does punish His kids. God’s mercy and Power seem to contrast each other so much that it makes sense that people struggle with only believing one or the other. How can He punish when He is merciful? How can He show mercy when He is all powerful? It’s because He is God. Think of it this way. A daddy lion has his cubs clambering all over him. They pull his tail, they chew his whiskers, they eat his food; but he is merciful to them because they are his kids. Yet. If they cross the line, especially if they have been warned already not to, he is going to punish them. Say one cub disobeys, again and again, the lion gives him another chance, and another, and then he gives him a swat. Why? Baby lion won’t survive if baby lion doesn’t learn. Now you could go many places with a lion annalogy, but this is not meant to be taken literally, lions are wild animals. God, however, is similar in the way that He loves us and forgives us, but when we go too far He punishes us; because He loves us and wants us to be saved. God is merciful to us because He does not want a single one of us to go to hell, God punishes us when we continually do wrong for the same reason. I know that I am grateful for God’s mercy everyday, because everyday I deserve to be punished, but I also know that I keed to repent and try to change from all my failings (and there are many of them) because I know that my father punishes and I don’t want that.
Do not be descouraged by this post. I am not saying that God is not a loving and merciful God because He is, but He is also a just and powerful God and we must not be deceived, He will reprimand us if we need it, and we can fall away from Him if we live a careless life. Read you Bible. Get to know God better. And aim for an NIV or NLT translation when reading your Bible, they are the ones that are the closest to the orriginal text, according to Bible translators.
God loves you. And He wants you in Heaven with Him, so don’t give up, keep striving for the cross and hoping for Heaven.