Justice, Mercy and Sin...


I work with a group of intelligent technical people who are mostly Indian/Pakistani, and who ask questions I can't answer. For example:
If it is God's nature to be intolerant of unholiness, or if unrighteousness cannot abide in the presence of His holiness, how could Jesus be fully divine and live on earth?
If you have an answer, or if you can start me on the right road re: Christian intellectual and apologetic training, would you please e-mail me at ...?

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The main approach to this problem is to recognize that God is personal, and not simple an automaton.

In other words, a person can CHOOSE to be patient with someone, instead of giving way to a legitimate intolerance. In the case of God, it is called a balance between mercy and grace...

consider the passage from 2 peter:

3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, "Where is this `coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 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.

You see, a Person can make wise decisions about WHEN to express ONE characteristic instead of another--AS LONG AS BOTH get full expression (over time)...

It is this ability to 'delay' judgment that shows off our God's great kindness and grace and mercy and patience with/for us!

A second point (very important) is to point out that our God's love for us and consequent desire to save us--at all costs!--led Him to sacrifice His very integrity in this matter, virtually...For this God-man Jesus Christ BECAME SIN for us! He not only walked among it, He took it UPON HIS VERY SOUL--such was His commitment and love for us! Consider the NT passages that show this horrible, horrible fate!:

. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (II Cor 5.21)

24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (I peter 2) .

God's love triumphed over judgment, but NOT by suppressing/denying that judgment...that judgment on sin was FULLY PAID OUT by God upon HIMSELF! (in the person of His Son)...

So, Paul can say...in Romans 3:

25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished -- 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
It was only love and compassion that figured out a way to meet both the demands of justice, and the tender ministrations of love...

All of this, of course, depends upon the gracious acts of a personal God...

hope this helps in getting you started on the question...

let me know how it goes,

in His love
glenn



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