When one speaks of God to those who are altogether on the rebound from their traditional roots one is sure to hear their antipathy for Christianity stems from the manner God comes out in the scriptural narrative. They impute many wanton slaughter and violence to him from stray passages. Is God vengeful?
Adam disobeyed God for which God did not destroy him but let its consequences follow him and his seed. Just as God punished Adam he passes his judgment on Cain but his mercy is also evident: he assures him a safe passage through the nations of the world. Judgment and grace are drawn from the eternal verity of Mercy.
There are two instances which the Holy Spirit narrates each specifying the jealousy of God for his holiness. Any transgression against it brought death. God made a covenant with Abraham which he was to keep as ‘an everlasting covenant’(Ge.17:13-14). After God had chosen Moses to deliver his message to the Pharaoh we read that the Lord met him in an inn, and sought to kill him(Ex.4:24). God’s Judgment probably arose over the circumcision of his son born to him in exile. Zipporah however averted it by her quick action. Similarly we read how angel of the Lord met Joshua and would have slain him. He saved himself by putting his shoes away from the holy ground.(Jos.5:13-15).
.”(The Father) hath given him (the Son) authority to execute judgment also because he is the Son of man(Jn.5:27,22)” When Apostle John in his gospel writes ‘Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ(Jn.1:14)’ what are we to understand? His Judgment shall be carried out by his Son on the basis of truth. There is no human standard by which we can judge what Truth is. So our idea of truth is far from those of God. Grace on the other hand is revealed by the advent of Jesus Christ. He is the image of the invisible God so Truth and Grace are to be assessed by the manner he delineated God the Father.
Let us consider sedition of Miriam and Aaron against Moses over the Ethiopian woman he had married. We see the swift judgment with which God put down disobedience even though the ones who had transgressed were as high as Moses’ brother and sister(Nu.13: 1-15). From the verse quoted from the Gospel of John we know that God has empowered Jesus to judge and punish wherever warranted. When Jesus would want to visit Samaria and sent an advance party to make arrangements the Samaritans did not receive them. Response of James and John, his two disciples were typical. They would command fire from heaven as punishment even as Elijah did. ‘You know not what manner of spirit ye are of (Lk.9:55)’ God is a spirit which Jesus Christ expressed in a characteristic manner. Grace and truth came by him. By principle of association God the Son revealed the nature of God the Father truthfully.
God the Spirit found it appropriate to contrast divine Judgment from two standpoints of God and the Son of man. The lesson, which the Holy Spirit teaches us is this: Judgment under the law of Moses and the glorious liberty of Jesus Christ under grace are drawn from the same eternal verity of Mercy.
‘For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Ro.11: 29).’ Merely because Abraham’s descendants rebelled against him God did not forget his promise to Abraham; neither did he cast them away. ‘And God heard their (Children of Israel) groaning, and God heard his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob (Ex.2: 23-25)
Principle of Association is like a ripple. The advent of the Son of Man with one sacrifice was a stone thrown into the pond, -destiny of people and nations. It ever widens beyond Israel and also includes the gentile nations. God’s promise to Abraham was thus: ‘…And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Ge.12: 3)’Also significant is the Great Commission of Jesus before he ascended to the father. He tells his disciples,’ Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…(Mt.28: 19)’ God’s love when translated into the Word is gospel of Good news and it flows ever outwards from the risen Christ to his disciples and beyond.