I just started reading The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul and it has been changing my life. Once I finish I will write more about all that I've learned, but for this Monday I want to leave you with a section that really convicted me this morning. Sproul is talking about how we grow familiar with God's mercy and therefore are surprised by his justice. When we get mercy from God we, in our sinfulness, grow to expect it. When he gives justice we cry "this is not fair," when in fact we deserve much worse. I've had to wrestle through my own sinful feelings of unfairness and thinking I deserve more than what I'm getting this past year. God has really had to purge me of a lot of wrong thinking about God's mercy towards sinners like me. This book has helped in that regard and for that I'm so thankful.
To give some background for this quote, Sproul is referring to an experiment he did with some of his students one year. After giving a couple of rounds of mercy to students who failed to turn assignments in on time, he gave a failing grade after the third assignment was not delivered on the due date. Many cried "not fair." And this is where the quote begins.
"The normal activity of God involved far more mercy than I showed those students with their term papers. Old Testament history covers hundreds of years. In that time God was repeatedly merciful. When His divine judgment fell on Nadab and Uzzah, the response was shock and outrage. We have come to expect God to be merciful. From there the next step is easy: We demand it. When it is not forthcoming, our first response is anger against God, coupled with the protest: "It isn't fair." We soon forget that with our first sin we have forfeited all rights to the gift of life. That I am drawing breath this morning is an act of divine mercy. God owes me nothing. I owe Him everything. If He allows a tower to fall on my head this afternoon, I cannot claim injustice."
He goes on to say:
"One of our basic problems is the confusion of injustice and mercy. We live in a world where injustices happen. They happen among people. Every one of us at some time has been a victim of injustice at the hands of another person. Every one of us at some time has committed an injustice against another person. People treat each other unfairly. One thing is certain: No matter how much injustice I have suffered from the hands of other people, I have never suffered the slightest injustice from the hand of God."
Praise the Lord that, in spite of our sinfulness before a holy God, we are given mercy. And praise Him for the fact that we get mercy because his Son, Jesus, took the full weight of his wrath for us. This was injustice. The perfect Son of God in place of wretched sinners. He choose injustice so we would not receive justice. How great is our salvation.