But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
Psalm 86:15 (New King James Version)
But you, O God, are both tender and kind,
not easily angered, immense in love,
and you never, never quit.
Psalm 86:15 (The Message)
Last week, we spoke about God’s love that was revealed in His Commandments. Today, let’s look at another marvelous attribute of God’s love; the love that never ever quits!
HATES THE SIN YET LOVES THE SINNER
The devil has been up to his slimy game since before Creation. He landed in the peaceful Garden of Even and planted the first seed of doubt of God’s love in Eve’s heart. He has been at that game ever since. The crafty fellow wants us to buy the twisted idea that God loves us when we please Him and hates us when we mess up. Sadly, many people including Christians fall for this lie over and over again. But the truth is that God has loved us from eternity past and will continue to do so forever. His love never changes.
We looked at this truth in detail in the past when we learned that God hates sin but has mercy and loving kindness towards the sinner.
Let’s race through some quick examples in this regard.
1. ADAM AND EVE
God blessed Adam and Eve abundantly. Yet they disobeyed His single command to them. Sin implied punishment which was separation from God and being cast out of the Garden of Eden. But God’s compassionate heart brimmed over. He made a new set of clothing for them, covered their nakedness and restored some amount of dignity to them.
God destroyed the sinful world in a flood and saved Noah and his family alone. Noah’s seed was to be God’s righteous seed on the earth. But some days later, Noah had drunk himself into a stupor and lay naked in front of his family. Even though he shamed God, God was gracious and compassionate towards him.
God called Abraham to leave everything and everyone except his family behind, and follow Him. But Abraham let his nephew Lot tag along. What a heap of trouble that led to! Then God instructed Abraham to go to a land that He would show him but because of a famine there, Abraham fled to Egypt. There he lied to the king of the land that his wife was actually his sister! Boy! Another mess that God graciously intervened and got him out of! Finally God established him and promised him a son. But when he didn’t see things come to pass he listened to his wife Sarah’s advice and had a child with another woman. The ever gracious God forgave Abraham and gave him the promised son, Isaac. Not only did God give him his own promised son, He also blessed the illegitimate child Ishmael and his mother too!
Moses murdered an Egyptian and went into hiding. Many years later He returned as Israel’s savior. However, in the wilderness, He disobeyed God by striking a rock for water when God had instructed him to speak to it. As a result Moses was not permitted to enter the Promised Land. Yet, he is counted among the one who communed with Jesus and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration several centuries later. The gracious Lord honored Moses!
David slept with a married woman and got her husband killed in war. Later, when Prophet Nathan pointed out his sin David repented before God and pled with Him to not take the Holy Spirit away from him. He sought a renewed spirit and a clean and joyful heart. God graciously forgave him. Even though he had to bear the consequences of his sin, David lived a long life and was even called ‘a man after God’s own heart’.
Even though he rebelled and ran away from God’s call, Jonah was given a second chance. When the fish spit him out on to Nineveh, Jonah readily obeyed God’s call.
At Jesus’ trial, Peter denied knowing Him. Thrice! But a couple of days later, the risen Christ affirmed Peter and sent him out into ministry.
All these men’s lives reflect God’s grace and mercy despite their sinfulness. His love compels Him to extend such love.
Now, let’s look at another man through whom God demonstrated His unchanging and compelling love. In order to understand this remarkable tale of love, let us backtrack a wee bit.
…to be continued…