What stirs God most is not physical suffering, but sin
Published 12:09 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2020
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: When I was a child I grew up hearing that God was a God of judgment. Today I mostly hear that God is a God of love. Is His love greater than His judgment? — L.J.
Dear L.J.: We must understand that the Lord is tender and merciful and full of compassion — in fact, He is the source of these attributes that human beings only have in small measure, but He is also the God of justice, holiness, and wrath.
Many people have a caricature of God. They do not see God in all of His wholeness. We glibly quote John 3:16, but we forget to quote a following verse: “He who does not believe is condemned already” (John 3:18). Compassion is not complete in itself, but must be accompanied by inflexible justice and wrath against sin and a desire for holiness.
What stirs God most is not physical suffering, but sin. All too often we are more afraid of physical pain than of moral wrong. The cross is the standing evidence of the fact that holiness is a principle for which God would die. God cannot clear the guilty until atonement is made. Mercy is what we need, and that is what we receive at the foot of the cross.
In one of the great devotional books, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, Hannah Whitall Smith writes “What we need is to see that God’s presence is a certain fact always, and that every act of our soul is done right before Him, as if our eyes could see Him and our hands could touch Him. Then we shall cease to have such vague conceptions of our relations with Him.”
The purity of the Lord Jesus Christ demands justice and holiness. Through His saving blood He will cover our sin through His boundless mercy and grace.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)