To get straight to the point……I think that we in the church have a tendency to focus on different aspects of God depending on what we think culture wants to hear or what culture responds to. There have been periods of time where we really focused on how dangerous God can be to those who don’t believe in Him. We focus on how judgement is coming and you better “get it straight” before you die. At other times we have really focused on how God is all love all the time. And so we focus on grace, mercy, forgiveness… all of those are great things…..some of my favorite things.
Romans 11:22 says this: “Note then the kindness and the severity of God….”
Paul says to “note” both of them. Kindness AND severity.
When you note something you remember it. You take special notice of it and come back to it.
Noting the kindness of God, his love and his grace and mercy, is easy for me. They are things I WANT to think about. And need to think about often. And so I note them and study them and make sure I think about them every day. People like to hear about the kindness of God.
Noting the severity of God – his righteous anger, his wrath, his judgement – is not easy for me. I don’t particularly enjoy those things. People don’t like to hear about the severity of God.
But Paul says to note both of them. And I think that’s REALLY important.
Because without both of them, it kind of seems like you have neither one.
God IS severe.
The Bible talks almost constantly about sinfulness. The Bible talks about hell. The Bible talks about God’s judgement on those who don’t give him the glory he is due. You can’t read the Bible and not see that it’s steeped in God’s severity. In both the old and the new testament. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either wrong or flat our lying to you.
But God is also kind. He is loving and gracious and quick to forgive and accept. He was willing to give his one and only son so that anyone who believes in him would have eternal life. The Bible also talks about this all the time. I love reading the verses about how merciful and loving God is. Incredible stuff.
The point is this – you need both!
If God is not severe then God doesn’t need to be as kind as he is. The depths of his severity magnify the depths of his kindness. And vice versa. The lengths that he had to go to to be kind were necessary because of the extent of his severity.
You have got to have both. Don’t focus on one to the exclusion of the other. Both come from the fact that God is glorious and perfect and totally righteous.
Both are absolutely reasons to praise and worship God. He is worthy.
So let’s note both – God is severe AND God is kind.
PS – Thank you brother Chandler…