Friday, June 1, 2012

His justice exacting, his mercy surprising

In his biblical theology entitled God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgment, author Jim Hamilton touches upon a point that should cause great gratitude in our hearts. At the fall, in our races original sin, what could have happened and what one might argue should have happened didn't. A just and merciful God was sinned against, rebelled against. And death was the penalty. We know that this was a just judgment because the one making it was wholly just. Nevertheless, as Hamilton explains, death was not immediately enacted and, furthermore, the death of death itself was promised. This is astounding. In our great failure our great God provided for a great victory in his great Son. It causes me to repeat with Paul, "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" (Romans 11:33 ESV). Who could have foreseen, let alone believed, the glorious remedy of redemption that would spring forth from God's magnificent mercy in the hour of our parents' sin.

This mercy, then, arises only from God. This is not something that humans deserve, not even in part. Of his own goodness, displaying his own intrinsic character, God announces that the woman will have seed-which means that the promised punishment of death will not be immediately enacted on the physical bodies of the human couple. Not only will their physical lives continue, but they will have seed: offspring. Not only will they have seed, but their seed will triumph over the snake. Salvation comes through judgment, and God makes known his character in justice and mercy. His justice is as exacting as his mercy is surprising. (Hamilton, James M. God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010. Print. 78)

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