The Bare Soul - December 2, 2012
The Necessity of Judgment With Mercy

Zephaniah 3:5 - The Lord is righteous within her; He will do no injustice. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He does not fail.

Throughout the years, I cannot count the number of sermons I have heard concerning the mercy of the Lord. A familiar text regarding God's lovingkindness is from Lamentations 3:22-23: "The Lordís lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." There is great hope in these words and the promise that God renews His love to us each day, regardless of our sins. Indeed, the Lord is unfailingly there to renew us each day according to His mercy! However, in order for us to understand the full implication of God's mercy we must first understand that in order for there to be mercy, there must be justice. For instance, how could cold be understood without hot? In the same way, mercy cannot be understood without a juxtaposition of its opposite.

Of paramount importance to understand is how God is not arbitrary in either His use of judgment or mercy. As the previously mentioned verse states, His mercies or lovingkindnesses are new every morning. Our lead verse tells us the same thing about mercy's opposite---that they likewise do not fail every morning. Daily, God's judgments are as predictable as His mercies. Some might look at these attributes of the Lord God Yahweh and describe Him as a dual-natured, somewhat confused entity that does not know what His left hand is doing from the right. However, in reality, it makes total sense once a person begins to understand God from His viewpoint. As aforementioned, mercy cannot exist without judgment nor can judgment without mercy. They are inextricably linked because of their dual attributes. Does this then make God dual-natured as previously suggested? It cannot, because both mercy and judgment complement one another and increase the other's certainty by the absence of its complement. Therefore they are inseparable as salt with water. To use this example further, one cannot necessarily see more or less salt in a gallon of water. If the solution is thoroughly mixed it will look like a gallon of fresh water. However, when tasting the two, there will be obvious differences. It is the same way with God and His mercy and judgment. Often times we cannot see how much mercy and judgment is mixed into together in any given situation. To those who have to "taste" or experience the situation, it will seem salty (or judgmental) to them. While it may look "clear" and without judgment to some, it will taste salty and bitter to others. However, God never allows the mixture to be wrong. Both His mercy and judgment come every morning for its particular end.

The "particular end" of mercy and judgment is always God's salvation for mankind. It is never random or arbitrary, but will always have a purpose. Many unbelievers and some Christians desire to believe God does not use calamities in our lives to shape us for redemption. With this in mind, let us look at God's word that states it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). To understand that God is kind, all of the time, is to understand how both the judgments which God allows in our lives, along with the mercies, give us all the opportunity to turn to Him and to accept the gift of righteousness. For there will come a day when mercy will be spent. Then, when we have passed the veil into eternity we will either experience God's full measure of mercy and grace or His full demonstration of judgment. On that final day, when all eyes see Him, then we will understand His incredible patience toward all as He wooed mankind with both judgment and mercy.

Just as today and everyday, God knows the proper mixture of lovingkindness and judgment to put within our lives. Too much mercy, and we become apathetic and ungrateful. Too much judgment and we become hopeless and uncaring. The Father knows what we need today. Does He engineer destruction in our lives through seeming judgments? No, but He allows them and uses them for our good. Does He give us everything we desire so we will not need a thing? That is the ploy of the devil to make us full of ourselves and to forget God. No, beloved, but the Lord wants the constant tension of His judgments and His mercies to continue to instruct us until that final day. Only then will we understand and embrace all of His Nature as He brings sons and daughters to perfection.

Father, may You grant us both Your mercies and Your judgments every morning. Grant them to us for they are forming us into the image of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as we surrender to Him. In Jesus' Name Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,



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