John T. Willis

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I know the plans I have for you--5

God's VISION naturally grows out of his NATURE. God HIMSELF clearly describes his nature. This is very simple, and falls into two large categories. God revealed himself to Moses on Mount Sinai when he gave Moses the Ten Commandments. This appears in Exodus 34:6-7:

"The Lord [Yahweh] passed before him [Moses], and proclaimed,
The Lord, the Lord,
a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation,
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,

by no means clearing the guilty,
but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children
and the children's children
to the third and the fourth generation."

Let us briefly consider each phases of Yahweh's nature.

I. Yahweh is merciful.
a. Mercy and grace are synonyms. They convey the idea that we deserve severe punishment because of our sins, but Yahweh is gracious and merciful and overlooks our sins. Psalms 130:3-4 beautifully communicates Yahweh's nature here:
"If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be feared [revered]."
b. Yahweh is slow to anger. When we persist in sin, naturally Yahweh becomes angry because we rebel against him, we oppose our creator. But Yahweh does not retaliate immediately. Rather, he tries many other ways to bring us to repentance. ONLY when we persist in sin, Yahweh then unleashes his anger and punishes us. A great text to emphasize this concept is Amos 4:6-13. FIVE times, Yahweh declares he tried drought, plague, pestilence, etc., "yet you did not return unto me, says the Lord." ONLY then, Yahweh declared: "Therefore, thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do to this to you, prepare to meet your God [for punishment], O Israel!"
c. Yahweh is abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, which are synonyms. Yahweh is very consistent. His love and faithfulness are tenacious. See Psalms
89:1-4; 117:1-2.
d. Yahweh forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin. By nature, Yahweh has always forgiven human beings of their sins. He is a forgiving God. He set the example that we also should forgive others who sin against us. Jesus taught us to think and pray in the moving prayer for all disciples of God through Jesus Christ. Matthew 6:12.

II. Yahweh is a God who disciplines and punishes.
a. When we persist in sin, Yahweh eventually punishes us and refines us and disciplines us. Romans 2:1-11 clearly makes the distinction between those to faithfully attempt to repent and serve God and those who establish hardened hearts to continually rebel against and oppose God.
b. When we sin, God punishes us as sinners, but also our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Sin is an epidemic, and affects people beyond the actual sinners. This is a reality of life. See Ezekiel 18.

God's VISION is clear, simple, and eternal. Let us daily pay attention to his nature.

Share YOUR ideas and anxieties and concerns and future with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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