Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“I will sing of mercy and judgment; unto you, O Lord, will I sing!”
“Behold, therefore, the goodness and the severity of God.”
Paul, in Romans 11:22
Those who are called into the kingdom of God are always subject to pressures against real spiritual growth and coming to the knowledge of God. Most of the time, in this culture anyway, the pressure is against the confession that God is “a consuming fire”, whose wrath against the wicked is sure and terrible. It was so in ancient time as well. There were many in Israel who insisted that it was wrong to see God as a God of judgment (Mal. 2:17). But David and Paul both knew better. David rejoiced and sang about both the mercy and the judgment of God, and Paul preached them both. They understood that the only way God’s children will come to know their heavenly Father is for them to be taught both that God is love and that He is “a man of war” (Ex. 15:3) and that “He hates the wicked” (Ps. 11:5). Both are true.
In Psalm 101, God expresses His great mercy by saying that He will watch over those who are faithful to Him and that He will allow those who walk in His commandments perfectly to live with Him forever (v. 6).
In that same Psalm, God expresses His terrible judgment against those who are unfaithful and wicked by making it clear that He will not grant them eternal life at the Final Judgment:
4. A froward heart shall depart from me; I will not know a wicked person.
5. Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him will I cut off; whoever has a high look and a proud heart will I not tolerate.
7. He who works deceit shall not dwell in my house. He who tells lies shall not tarry in my sight.
The Spirit of Christ could sing through David of the terrible judgments of God just as easily as it could sing of the damnation of the wicked. The Spirit could also preach through Paul of the wonderful grace of God as easily as it could preach that God was “a consuming fire”. Until we can speak as easily of one as the other, we have not yet overcome the spirits of this age who cannot rejoice to hear of the horrors that they will someday surely face. They will try to make the children of God feel unmerciful or unkind if they rejoice in the approaching Final Judgment of the wicked. But that judgment is our eternal deliverance from all the pressures in this world, pressures that come from ungodly people who oppose the righteousness and knowledge of God that is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord.