Candy blogs: Ah, but you can’t talk about God’s holiness without talking about God’s mercy. Let’s define some new words.
Beth Moore says one definition of patience is the quality of a person who is ABLE to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so. Much like exercising patience with children, we don’t rush in with extreme punishment for a toddler who spills their milk or a teenager who makes their first poor choice. These things often make us angry, and we COULD avenge ourselves because we are the authority but we REFRAIN from doing so. This kind of patience is motivated by …
-compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power
-compassion, pity, or benevolence
-something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing
Forbearance: (not a word we use much these days)
-the act of forbearing; a refraining from something
-patient endurance; self-control
-an abstaining from the enforcement of a right
That sounds like God, doesn’t it? Patient, merciful, forbearing
He could avenge Himself …
He could strike us down because of the sin in our life but instead he shows us tender mercy.
I Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
I Peter 3:15
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation!
I am SAVED because mercy prompted God’s patience! I am even ALIVE each day because God is refraining, holding back the judgment I deserve, patiently allowing more time for more to repent and be reconciled to Him.
When I think about God constantly withholding punishment and judgment, exercising profound patience on my behalf, I realize that to be allowed into the presence of such a God … whose ways are so high above mine, is more humbling than I can fathom. I skip into the gym on Sunday mornings, anxious for worship as I know it. Anxious to sing and see friends and encourage others. And this is as it should be.
But if I was truly aware of the holiness of God Almighty,
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine … in the presence of such a God.
(‘I Can Only Imagine’, written by Bart Millard of Mercy Me)
Here’s the kicker: God hasn’t changed. He’s still the same God in both testaments. His nature, His character still require justice. The New Covenant doesn’t change the fact that punishment for sin is death. It doesn’t change the fact that any accommodation with evil invites God’s wrath. It just means that Jesus took the punishment instead of me. THAT is where holiness meets mercy.
Here are some beautiful word pictures of where holiness meets mercy.
It was said of Aslan, King of Narnia – “He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion,” Mr. Thomnas says. “No,” replies Lucy, “but he is good.”
Mercy Came Running
Written by: Dave Clark; Dan Dean; Don Koch
Once there was a holy place
Evidence of God’s embrace
And I can almost see mercy’s face
Pressed against the veil
Looking down with longing eyes
Mercy must have realized
That once His blood was sacrificed
Freedom would prevail
And as the sky grew dark
And the earth began to shake
With justice no longer in the way
Mercy came running
Like a prisoner set free
Past all my failures to the point of my need
When the sin that I carried
Was all I could see
And when I could not reach mercy
Mercy came running to me
“Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail …” Zeph. 3:5b
“Yet this I call to mind and, therefore, I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lam. 3:21-23
Let this be so in me:
Holy and merciful God, thank you that I can come boldly into your very presence because you see me through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Give me a new awareness of the beauty of your holiness and the tenderness of your mercy.