Christian Theology and a Merciful GodQUESTION: Christian Theology – Merciful GodANSWER:
Only one thing can protect us from God’s justice on the Day of Judgment: God’s mercy. In His mercy, God has provided an advocate for every individual—an advocate so righteous that He washes away the sin that should condemn us. God as the Redeemer, in the person of Christ, saves humanity from His wrath.Christian Theology – The Love of God
The central theme of redemption is the love of God. John 3:16 tells us, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Using John 3:16 as a text for portraying God’s love, theologian Floyd Barackman points out the following characteristics of this love:
God’s love is universal. God loves every nation, tribe, race, class, and sex (male/female) equally. There were no social prejudices when God offered His Son. Christ died for the rich and for the poor; for the free and for the enslaved; for the old and for the young; for the beautiful and for the ugly.Christian Theology – A God of Love
God’s love is gracious. God loves sinners even when they hate Him and are undeserving of His love. Romans 5:8 clearly outlines the nature of God’s love: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” How could God love the sinner? This question is answered by the Christian doctrine of grace. Christianity declares that God’s love and mercy are so awesome that He can love the sinner while hating the sin. He expects His children to do likewise (Jude 22, 23).
God’s love is sacrificial. God did not send His only Son to earth just to be a good example or simply to be a teacher, but to be a perfect and atoning sacrifice for humanity’s sin. Christ’s substitutionary death was sacrificial and closely resembles the Old Testament concept of atonement. The main difference between the Old Testament concept of atonement and the New Testament concept is that atonement in the Old Testament was temporary, whereas in the New Testament Christ atoned for sins once and for all (1 John 2:2). Through the death of Christ, God has reconciled the world to Himself, and offered a way for His wrath to be appeased (Colossians 1:20)—humanity now must be reconciled to God through faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
God’s love is beneficial. For all those who receive Christ (John 1:12), for all those who are born from above (John 3:3), for all those who believe (John 3:16), there await certain eternal benefits given by God. Scripture declares that through God’s grace, the believer will not be condemned (Romans 3:24) and will not be captive to sin (Romans 6:11). Further, the believer is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) who has been declared righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21), redeemed (1 Peter 1:18), forgiven (Ephesians 1:7), and the recipient of the gift of eternal life (John 3:16).Notes:
Rendered with permission from the book,Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews
ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry
at Summit Ministries
. All rights reserved in the original.