“I AM who I am: the God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in faithful love and constancy, maintaining my faithful love to thousands, forgiving fault crime and sin, yet letting nothing go unchecked, punishing the parent’s fault in the children and in the grandchildren unto the third and fourth generation” (Exodus34:6-7NJB).
It is possible that the very servants of Satan may be transformed into ministers of righteousness and become greatly revered amongst the righteous (cf. 2Cor11:14,15). But there is a benchmark that can be applied if they happen to be theologians or spiritual teachers in the Church and it is God’s depiction of His own character quoted above. Such is God’s self-declared nature; these are His judgements which are evidently right and just and in accordance with human reason, by which I mean they are exactly how one would expect a loving and just God to behave in judgement. One might call it divine theology, for there surely can be no better theologian than God Himself, so if anyone has presented a markedly different picture or if they declare God’s nature to be quite incomprehensible or inexplicable to man, he is no theologian at all however revered he may be [reliefis at hand – cf. Rev10:7-10). Whilst one may be mystified by God’s ways at times, this is a Being that we as human beings can genuinely love and adore as well as fear; not merely for the grace and mercy we believe He has shown to us but because He is genuinely good from the perspective of those created after His own likeness.
Yahweh is forgiving, tender and compassionate just as a saintly human is uniformly tender and compassionate, only more so. Like a good parent He will have a special affection for His own (or His Son’s) immediate family but will show generosity and kindness to all, for that is God’s self-declared nature. As such He makes full allowance for the human weakness unavoidably inherited at birth; toleration being a vital ingredient of love as any parent will know, yet He will come crashing down on those who wickedly offend those He loves. He will take vengeance on behalf of His people (cf. 2Thes1:6); being all who fear Him and seek to do justice in accordance with the measure of revelation they have received from Him. I say again with the Psalmist: “We shall praise you with uprightness of heart WHEN we learn your righteous judgements” (Ps119:7).
How God’s self-declared nature and munificent providence are to be reconciled with biblical theology as a whole is set out in The Little Book of Providence:
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