Lord and Savior. It took me a long time to grasp the significance of that term, though my mom had used it as long as I could remember. To me, those two words just always went together, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that people often get stuck on one, and struggle to reconcile them both. Take the Old and New Testament for example. Many have a hard time understanding how the God who never changes (James 1:17, Malachi 3:6) can be the God who killed hundreds of people at a time, turned a woman to salt just for looking behind her, and killed a man for touching His holy Ark trying to prevent it from falling- all of which were sins. Yet at the same time, in the New Testament, we see more of His mercy, love, and grace. We see Jesus healing people left and right and telling an adulteress to sin no more (allowing her to escape the death penalty). How do we reconcile such justice and such mercy all in one?
The thing is, justice and mercy aren’t such polar opposites as they seem. And neither is the God of the Old and New Testament. Our God is Lord and King-the King of Kings! But He is also Father, Healer, and Savior. I recently read the Bible from beginning to end in order. It was so cool to take a step back and see the story unfold before me, connecting to dots from book to book, and seeing the repeated messages. One continuing theme I noticed in particular was God’s mercy and justice. Both are fully woven throughout! Even in God’s punishments in the Old Testament, we can see God’s grace clearly. Much of First and Second Kings and Chronicles is a cycle of God’s mercy. Even though His people are desperately deserving punishment, He still shows them endless grace and mercy. In the first few books of the Bible, you see the same thing as the Israelites wander the desert. Yes, they are being disciplined for their lack of faith, but even then God loved, cared for, and provided for them. He sent food and water, miracles of protection, and leaders to guide them! If we look at the New Testament, justice is a huge part of it! Jesus coming to earth and dying on the cross-that was incredible love and mercy, but it was also fully justice.
I’ve noticed that it’s very easy for people to take God and try to fit Him into one of two boxes: either He’s merciful and loving and wishy-washy, leaving us free to do anything…or, He’s fire and brimstone, watching our every breath with a gavel in His hand just waiting for us to make a mistake. He’s neither! Our God is a God we should fear and also a God who calls sinners His friend! He is all-powerful, yet gentle. King and Father. Lord and Savior. You know the two options above? Wishy-washy, or fire and brimstone? I think one of the big problems with those is that neither of those are a personal God (as in God having a real, genuine, personal relationship with us). Once you start to get to know God and really know who He is, it’s impossible not to see both ‘sides’ of Him and realize that they aren’t actually sides, but equal parts of His character. I pray that each and every person reading this may learn to know God personally. That we may not forget either His perfect holiness, nor His gentle, loving, perfect mercy.
Your sister in Christ,