Sunday, January 26, 2014

God's steadfastness and the defeat of evil

Last week we looked at God's emotion, and how an emotion -- for example, mercy -- is not a defect. God is constant: for the good and against the evil. And so we find what may be the most-repeated saying in the Bible:
His mercy endures forever. 
If God's mercy endures forever, then there will always be someone on whom he has mercy.

We also hear of God's anger, but there is a theme about how his anger is not like his mercy: it does not endure forever.
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime.
Weeping may endure for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

I will not accuse them forever, nor will I always be angry.
For then they would faint away because of me - the very people I have created. (Isaiah 57:16)

Go, proclaim this message toward the north: "'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the LORD, 'I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,' declares the LORD, 'I will not be angry forever.' (Jeremiah 3:12)

You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. (Micah 7:18)
If God is steadfast -- if God is always against evil -- then the end of his anger implies the defeat of evil. If evil continued, God would remain opposed to it. We do not hear "His anger endures forever" because in the end, evil is utterly defeated. God will not be angry forever because evil will not endure forever. Its days are numbered.

We do not hear that God delights to show anger, but he does delight to show mercy. Even when he is angry with his people, his purpose is redemption.

In the world to come, when all things are created new, his anger will not rise up anymore: there will be no more evil. But his mercy remains -- and in the end, it his mercy, his lovingkindness, that endures.


Martin LaBar said...


Is mercy an emotion, an action, or both?

Weekend Fisher said...

I expect both ... Sometimes I consider it might be accurately seen as "motive" -- in the psychological sense of "source of action".

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

OK. Thanks.