"Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a
'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'"
- Matthew 9:35-38
These verses show us something about Jesus that I find amazing. While He came to save the church (Eph. 5:25, confer John 10:29 and 17:6), He is not blind to the rest of fallen humanity. Rather, He sees their sin, spiritual blindness, disease, futility, and even their stubbornness (see, for example, Matthew 23:37), and is moved with compassion. He sorrows over the irremediable fallenness of the reprobate, though He acts in justice in judging them for their sin (Matthew 25:31-33, 46, and Revelation 20:11-15).
How can these things be compatible?
It is certainly true that God takes no pleasure in destroying the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). If He did, would He not be too sadistic for us to contemplate? But the Bible also says (Psalm 5:4), "You are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with You."
The problem continues to be that God is more complex than we want Him to be. Too many people talk about the love of God for men, and then stop. What does God value above men? Himself. To love sinners without acting in justice, He would be forced to excise that side of His nature, His holiness (Heb. 12:29). He would thus cease to be God. The God of that kind of belief system is not the God of the Bible, but is rather an idol, a god made, not even in man's image, but rather according to man's desires.
39 Articles—Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude (4)
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