The following is a guest post by Kim Henry:
Have you ever noticed when talking with an people, both inside and outside the church, that often their perception of God is limited? In our country we tend to focus on the fact that God is love. Many don’t know that God hates sin. Some have heard that He is a merciful God. But they would never guess that He disciplines those that He loves and that that discipline can be very painful. How would you talk with these people to help them to expand their view? I was one of those people who focused on God’s love and mercy without balancing these attributes with His other attributes. When I was a fairly new Christian reading through the entire bible radically changed my view of our great God helping me to see Him more fully.
The following examples are just a few aspects of God that can help us to perhaps have a more balanced view of Him. Exodus 34:6-7 gives us a wonderful picture of our God from His own mouth. After His list of all the attributes that we like to think about comes the words, “but Who will by no means clear the guilty.” These words cause me to fear for all those that I love that don’t know Him. They also cause me to fear the consequences of my own sin. Our loving Father cares too much for His people to let us go too long down a path of sin. After all, He sent His beloved Son to die an awful death so that we could be forgiven for sin. Proverbs 6:16-19 lists things that our God hates and that are an abomination to Him such as haughty eyes, lying, and one who sows discord among brothers. Our gracious Father knows that our arrogance, lying, and sowing discord hurts our brothers and sisters, our witness, and ultimately ourselves. Our Lord Jesus’ treatment of the money changers and those who sold animals for sacrifice in the temple would be considered harsh by many. He drove them out of the temple with a whip, poured out their coins, and overturned the tables. Jesus utmost concern during His time here was that His Father be glorified. What they were doing didn’t bring God glory. Then, there is the woman that came to Jesus asking that Jesus remove the demon from her daughter. First, Jesus doesn’t answer her, and when she persisted, He called her and her people dogs, saying that He had come only for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Jesus, in His mercy, did remove the demon from her daughter because of her faith. Our wonderful Savior was showing His compassion for the Gentiles as well as the Israelites. There are several other examples throughout the bible, as well as in the book, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, by John Piper. Which, by the way, is an excellent book to give to friends.
We can emphasize any one of God’s attributes, but we must remember to emphasize God in all of His glorious attributes. God is so very great that this can be work for us. But, I think that if we put forth the effort to not exclusively think of one or two of His attributes we will find that He will show us just how very awesome He is.