I am getting the impression that, because mercy had been so much emphasized the last thirty years or so, many now think that God is mercy--that his reaction to any situation is always mercy.
God is not mercy. He has mercy. He shows mercy, but He is Love. Now get this because it is very important.
To say that love rules or to say that God is love means that God always does what is called for in order to love.
Weíre talking about the Father kind of love. God has a Father heart toward everyone, but He can only benefit those who choose Him as Father and trust and obey Him.
Think about it. Everything that God has instructed mankind to do in the Bible is for manís protection. Some of the precepts are for the good of all and some are for the good of the individual. So to think that God would easily pass over what He has said in favor of not putting a guilt trip on someone is purely a fallacy.
When though God has said do not commit fornication, a person deliberately goes ahead and has intercourse with someone who is not their lifelong mate, they put themselves in jeopardy. That wrong choice exposes them to diseases. They risk exposing themselves to the wrath of someone--a father, an irate ex-lover, etc. Then there is the risk of pregnancy. If that happens then both the father and the mother are involved and now there is a brand new tiny person involved. If the parents continue to make irresponsible choices, the offspring are bound to suffer from those choices.
God is love and disobedience grieves Him because every disobedience hurts someone.
And the wages of sin is death. Am I saying that if a person deliberately disobeys God they canít be saved? No. Iím saying until they repent of their disobedience, they cannot have a relationship with God. He does not hear the prayers of the sinner. (Prov. 15:29) This does not mean He doesnít care about them and it doesnít mean He wants them to be under a load of guilt and shame. It means that if a child of God chooses to disobey Him, they will be alienated from God and will feel guilt and shame until they repent and return.
Godís mercy is standing by waiting for the child to come home. He is waiting and longing to be a Father to the disobedient one. But let it be known and understood, He does not overlook disobedience and He does not put mercy ahead of love. To love a child a good parent must teach, train, and discipline him/her.
How does God want us to react to a person who chooses to disobey him? He wants us to speak the truth to one another in love. He wants us to urge one another on to love and good works. (Heb. 10:25) He wants us to fish them out of the murky waters. He wants us to turn a sinner from his sin. (Jms. 5:19) He wants us to warn that one. (1Thess. 5:14)
I know that the recent teachings have not been in this direction, but this is the direction that must be chosen in order to walk in love. The loving Christian does not condemn, but he does not ignore the fact that the sinner is in a dangerous place. Thatís where Christians are missing it. They no longer think the person who sins is in a dangerous place, they think that God is excusing everything and patching things up for everyone. They think Jesus died so we can all go to heaven, but He died and rose to restore eternal life to us. This life is in Godís son, Jesus. (I Jn. 5:11) Itís a life that practices make right choices.
This article is in the balance series because it was an over-emphasis of mercy, forgiveness, and grace that has caused this error. These should be proclaimed, but in balance with God's severity. He is a loving God--a loving Father--He will not let you get away with sinning.