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Goodness and Severity; We Need Both


A reader, Stan, sent the following note after the last series of issues (Is North America Christian?):

I think this is part of the problem-everyone thinks God is a ‘good God’-all the time for everybody. That’s a half-truth-he is for those that seek him diligently and wish to follow his rules. Otherwise he is angry at the wicked every day, isn’t he, because he paid such a great price and yet some go off and follow another LORD. I never have heard a sermon on Acts 13 where Paul did a miracle (like happened to him) and made an evil man blind.

Our reply:

Greetings in Christ Jesus, Stan,

Thank you for your note.

Naturally, people do not want to face the truth if truth happens to find them wanting. The trouble is that truth always finds us wanting, and though God has provided a way to be reconciled, He requires of us to be honest about our condition and shortfall, about our utter bankruptcy in righteousness. Man takes any shortcut he can to escape judgment. If believing he is innocent does not suffice because the evidence is too obvious, he may then decide that “Jesus has paid the price; we do not need to worry.” The realities of sin, confession to God, and repentance from sin, as regularly as needed, are repugnant to the flesh, so man likes to think of a god who overlooks or disregards sin, a god who would never hurt a fly.

I still find it remarkable when witnessing those who portray a soft, loving God suddenly turn out to be some of the most angry, unmerciful and vicious people around when “push comes to shove.” It makes sense though, does it not? How can they love their fellow man when they hate the One Who is Love, when they refuse to believe and obey Him? “He that has My commandments and keeps them, he is the one that loves Me….”

Whatever happened with:

“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off” (Romans 11:22)?

The parallel you bring up of Paul receiving his sight and later taking sight away from another by the Spirit of God is an interesting one. The fact that God would use His servant to do such a thing confirms exactly what we are talking about, as you make the point that while Paul “freely received,” in this case he did not “freely give” but rather “freely took away”!

In 1975, an elderly lady (they called her “Sister Lee”) working with street people in Detroit once said to me, “What God wants is reality.” That is about all she had to say to me. Those words stayed with me and became a principle of thought and action, a driving force in my life ever since. God sent her to speak those few, yet powerful words to me. How unreal I was, but God had mercy!

Allow me to reminisce a bit more. At that same time, I met another old gentleman working the streets as well. When I told him we had been baptized in the Holy Spirit, he gently said, “Go on; there’s more.” God used him to speak to me powerfully in those few words as well. God made it known to me that I needed to enter into His rest. It did not happen until nearly 25 years later! The journey to the next station, to the celebration of the third feast, to the shelter of God, was long and hard, but well worth it, praise God! We must all embrace reality, if we are ever to be free and at rest.

You may be blessed reading THE WRATH OF GOD on our site. Most people cannot handle it.

Victor Hafichuk

Hi Stan, Paul here. I have another thought for you. God is angry particularly with those who follow other gods while using the Name of the LORD, as if they followed Him. The commandment of God says that we shall not take the Name of the LORD in vain, and that such that do are not held guiltless. So it is; the law of God is never broken, only the violators. Therefore we speak and warn everyone.

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