Never forget that the world is not on auto-pilot; the water cycle does not happen on auto-pilot; air is not replenished on auto-pilot; babies are not conceived and born on auto-pilot; seeds do not fall and plants and trees born on auto-pilot; the sun does not rise on auto-pilot*; the systems we think are dependable and inevitable are really neither; we must never forget this. We must also be careful.
Let’s start at the beginning: there is one God, and many gods. God created all things. He did not then remove Himself from all things. He is not the clockmaker that wound up the world and let her go; and this makes all the difference.
In other words, He is the Creator and Maintainer of all things; He holds all things together; He sends the water from the ocean to the sky, the sky to the land, the land to the ocean, and back again; He covers the atmosphere with enough oxygen to keep almost 7 billion people breathing; He takes the sperm and plants it into fertile egg, develops the child, and commands the developed lungs to respond upon birth; He carries the seeds from their source to the appropriate soil, draws their roots into the earth, and cultivates new plants and trees; He keeps our planet in orbit and rotation, to show us the sun each day; this is not ordinary, this is supernatural.
He is holding all things together not merely because He can but because He is mercifully giving us new opportunity to draw close to Him. This perspective is what reminds us that the ordinary is not so ordinary, and that His great mercy sustains us. May we not forget this; may we be ever thankful; may we draw near to Him.
* “A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough… It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again,” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again,” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. ” – G.K. Chesterton
I’ve recently been reading The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul with my Wednesday night bible study guys, and we’ve all been challenged to think more deeply and hold with higher reverence the holiness of our God.
Last night we had a very healthy discussion about God’s justice and mercy, which I found very humbling. Below are some of the main points I took from the reading and our discussion.
- The Old Testament law is one of astonishing mercy, not injustice from a malicious God. How could this be? He’s always killing people in the OT – men, women, and children!
- “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezek. 18:4). The penalty for sin, from the beginning, has been death. The right to life is forfeited by sin. Every act of sin is treason against an infinite, holy, and just God. The appropriate response to this treason is death. Yet here we are eating, sleeping, working, breathing, carrying on. How could a just God allow rebels, who have defamed His perfect name, to go on living??
- Mercy. God is full of justice and mercy. We live and breathe and eat only by His mercy, because He allows us to. This merciful patience is designed to lead us to repentance. “The most mysterious aspect of the mystery of sin is not that the sinner deserves to die, but rather that the sinner in the average situation continues to exist.”
- Our tendency, however, is to feel entitled to God’s mercy and grace. Entitled. As if He owed us a good life. As if grace and mercy is something anyone can deserve! The nature of grace and mercy is that we DON’T deserve them! When we talk about “deserving” something, we’re talking about justice – something earned. So, when things don’t go our way, we feel that God is being unjust in not giving us mercy.
- If ever anyone would have had the “right” to complain about “injustice” it was Jesus. He lived a perfect life, yet what did he receive? The most violent display of wrath and justice the world will ever know – the Cross. If we should be outraged, it should be with the Cross.
- But for the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross. His sacrifice sets before us the same joy. What mercy! Rebels redeemed by the justice and mercy of the Cross! What an intersection, what unfathomable love! When there was no way – when justice demanded death – God made a way, through mercy, by murdering His perfect and innocent Son in our place – cleansing us of our sins AND giving us right standing before God.
Should we be outraged at the Cross? Absolutely.
Outraged that it was not us.