(Continued from yesterday)
Yesterday we saw that God’s people did not keep their covenant with God. Did He in His wrath strike them down right away? No, He was slow to anger and forbearing, giving people time to repent so they won’t perish:
• Neh 9:17 They refused to listen, And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness; And You did not forsake them. (Also Ex 34:6; Ps 103:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2)
• Rom 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
• 2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
But if He is so gracious and compassionate and abounding in loving-kindness, why can’t He lower His standards and just forgive people as they are? He can’t, for two reasons. First, it won’t work. Sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4), any deviation from God’s law. Let me use cancer as an analogy. Cancer cells are cells that grow and divide at an unregulated, quick pace. They are a deviation from normality, just like sin. If you have cancer, you would want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Now how much cancer cells would you tolerate to remain in your body without removing them by surgery, or killing them by radiation or chemotherapy? 10%? 5%? 1%? No, you want them completely eliminated, or you die.
The so-called “tolerant” believe that God is love and should cut people some slack. They think if God didn’t set the bar so high, they would make it on their own. Actually they have too high a view of themselves, and too low a view of God. For the sake of argument let’s just say God concedes to their request. What they don’t know is whatever concession God makes, that sin will kill them, just as that trace amount of cancer cells left behind will kill them. Tolerance to sin just doesn’t work.
Let’s use another illustration. You love your spouse and want him/her to be faithful to you. Would you tolerate your spouse to be 90% faithful? 95%? 99%? No, only 100% will suffice, anything less is adultery. It’s all or nothing.
(To be continued)