If you've ever read, or watched, the Narnia Chronicles by C S Lewis, you'll have come across the comment about Aslan the Lion: “He’s not a TAME lion.”
How often we try and keep God in our little theological cages, thinking we’ve got Him sorted. It still comes as a shock to me when I discover that God is far greater and more amazing than I thought I’d figured Him out to be.
Many times we meet well-meaning believers, theologians(!) or even whole churches who believe that God is either a big teddy-bear Santa figure or a bad-tempered, unapproachable task-master.
The secular media love to highlight the latter especially, giving us the message “Who’d want to believe in, let alone worship, a god like that?”
They quote all the passages in the Old Testament about God sending terrible judgement on nations – even His own people – but ignore all the connected passages. These tell us about both the horrible things the people had done, and that God leaves the door open for restoration, often taking the initiative Himself.
On the other hand, many professing believers say: “Well, let’s just do what we like. God will forgive us! He’s too loving to send us to Hell!” and ignore scriptures like:
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7.
We only go to Hell (whatever form that takes) because we’ve chosen that road.
God is neither of those two extremes.
Yet we seem to go through seasons where we think that God tends to be like one or the other.
We still haven't got the balance right yet!
But we see this balance right throughout scripture.
A few more examples: Jesus was “full of grace and truth.” John 1:14,17
Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” John 8:11. Note: He neither condemned her, nor condoned her behaviour.
“Righteousness and justice make up the foundation of Your throne; gracious love and truth meet before you.” Psalm 89:14 If God wasn’t consistent in being the ultimate dealer of justice, I’m convinced the whole universe would come apart at the seams, not just morally. God will not, and never will, compromise His glorious integrity for the sake of letting us get off Scott-free. If He did, His whole universal system of government – even the nature of Justice itself – would collapse. Even atheists have a passion for justice – especially if they have been the victims of injustice. And well they might!
But this raises the question: Where did this sense of Justice come from?
Personally, I’d rather trust His form of justice than that of mere people, be they trendy-thinking theologians, pharisaic believers or non-believers, or secular philosophers.
He’s the only one who has the whole picture.
Notice that the laws of nature are consistent.
They don’t let you off the hook if you defy them, even on compassionate grounds!See Michael Edwards' book called "Gravity – True For You, But Not For Me!"
But He has made provision for our restoration because He is not only the best judge in the universe, He is our loving Father.
Relationship is what God is all about. He is not merely loving -- God ISlove.
I’d like to explore that a bit further in my next devotional.