Romans 3 and Psalms 36 both speak of people that have no “fear” of God. No understanding of who he is. He is not in his proper place in their lives. They ignore or deny that one day we will stand in his presence and give account for our lives. Living like that will lead anyone into sin. They become a person that believes that their sin is unseen or doesn’t matter. Jesus said they condemn themselves because they love darkness rather than light. That people don’t want their deeds exposed. Evil likes to hide. Ask a burglar.
We forget simple truths because, well, we’ve been taught in our culture that the real sin is “getting caught” doing evil. Not the evil itself. Sin is not external for any of us. It is not just an action we participate in. It happens in our lives because of our attitude about God. We like to say, “Well, I may do that, but that’s NOT who I am.” But that’s not true.
That’s why each of us are so in need of God’s GOODNESS. Goodness incorporates that he is love, grace, mercy, generosity, forgiveness, faithful, truthful, kind, dependable, reliable and trustworthy. He is all the things we wish we were and other people were. That is how we want people to deal with us and how we should deal with other people. God actually declares those things to be his GLORY.
In Exodus 33, Moses was dealing with the unfaithful Israelites and asks God in verse 18, “Please show me your glory.” And God responds with, “I will make all my goodness pass before you … .”
God tells Moses that his glory is not his might or the armies of heaven itself … it is his goodness. And what is his goodness? Love, grace, mercy, generosity, forgiveness, faithfulness, truthfulness, kindness and trustworthiness.
Exodus 34:6: “And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
Be careful not to get caught up with bizarre teachings of “God’s glory” being feathers or gold dust or weird physical nonsense that insults the Holy Spirit. None of those things is needed to bring salvation to a soul, to heal the broken-hearted, to feed the poor, to repair a struggling marriage, to see a prodigal come home or for God to heal a sick body. God is about relationships. You can’t maintain relationships with people that are unfaithful and unloving and unkind and untrustworthy and unreliable. And we can’t live in this sinful world if we, as Christians, do not live with a willingness to show love, grace, mercy, offer forgiveness and tell the truth.
And we must not forget that mercy, grace, forgiveness do not ignore sin; they don’t overlook sin. Sadly, liberal theology will tell you that they do. Bad theology has twisted understanding of love, kindness, mercy, tolerance, and openness. They say they are all possible WITHOUT TRUTH … and it is not possible. They deny that God is angry with sin. In fact, they change why Jesus died on the cross. It was for the atonement for our sins. But for them, all that needs to happen is to say “sorry” and not even have to change course, to repent, and all is forgiven. But to say “sorry” without the atonement does not lead to “repentance toward God and faith in Christ Jesus.” So sins in people lives are overlooked and, worse yet, covered up or celebrated. Their excuse is, “They are MORE loving and open-minded.” What they really are is unfaithful to God and his truth.
God gave us the law, not that it can overcome sin, but it identified it in all of us. Jew and Gentile. We are so much under the power of sin that the law could not release or break its hold over us. We are all in serious trouble. But God, in his goodness, allowed justice and mercy be expressed so sinners can be freed and pardoned and so that he could give grace and mercy. The death of Jesus on the cross allows God to extend grace and mercy to all sinners. God brought righteousness and justice, as well and mercy and forgiveness. God was just and righteous as well as merciful and forgiving at the same time. He took the punishment for our sins, for your sins and he took that judgment upon himself. God does not offer unjust mercy and he does not give merciless justice. He provided for all humanity a way to obtain mercy. We can have the Holy Spirit dwell in us and find that grace and mercy and kindness that will help us walk in such a way that God is honored and our lives reflect the image and likeness of our Savior. Like I said, God is GOOD. And it is his GOODNESS that leads people to repentance and to find salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord. You can read more about his goodness in your Bible.
The writer is the pastor of the Cornerstone Assembly of God in Sidney.