ANASAYFA Forum TURKISH CHRISTIAN FORUM (in English) Miscellaneaus Is the God of the Old Testament Mercyless? (For Christian Workers)

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    Turning Old Testament Warfare Towards the Gospel

    If you are involved in evangelism, soon enough you will doubtlessly run into someone who sarcastically quotes Old Testament passages where God demands the death of whole nations, and forbids the Israelites from showing any mercy. They will say things like:

    • “Is this God worthy of worship? No.”
    • “Why would a good God command the death of innocent people?”
    • “Why would God command genocide?”
    • “If God were really loving, he would stop suffering in the world, not cause it.”

    These statements are designed to make your blood boil and provoke a hateful response. Keep your head. Remember Romans 1:18-32. They understand God’s justice, but they still do and give approval to those who do evil. Rather than responding with hatred, do the most loving thing possible: use their passage as a springboard to the gospel.
    The ruthless warfare sanctioned by God in the Old Testament was God’s way for exacting justice against evil people. In other words, the merciless defeat and destruction of these nations was punishment for their crimes. Justice is one of God’s many good characteristics. When God judges, he does not judge according to human standards or opinions, but judges according to the best standards: his own. Since he is the only perfect judge, he will judge fairly. God has disclosed his standards in the Bible so that people may check themselves to see if they deserve punishment like the pagan nations and will likewise be destroyed. Jesus summarized the whole law of God by saying that you must love God completely and love your neighbor as yourself. We all have not only failed to achieve that standard, but also have rebelled against it. We tend to get furious with God that he would command us not to do the evil things we would like to do, like lusting or boasting. We speak lies, and breathe threats. We store up hatred against our neighbors and rebel against our parents. Therefore, we can only conclude, that we also deserve the same punishment that the pagan nations received. That is not God being mean, that is just God being fair. Our only hope is that God might find mercy in his heart and forgive us.
    Why on earth should we expect that? It’s not fair for us to be forgiven. Judges that let criminals free become criminals themselves. God is no criminal and indeed he refuses to become one. God does not forgive for free. The price of forgiveness is much more than you can pay: that is why God paid it himself. God forgives at the price of his innocent Son’s blood. Jesus, the Son of God died a death on the cross, taking on the sins of all who trust in him, so that they may be treated as heirs of God, not as the pagan nations of the Old Testament. Jesus proved he was God, proved his love for humanity, and proved his ability to forgive sins by rising from physical death. He has proved his resurrection by showing his scarred body to hundreds of eyewitnesses. We have eyewitness accounts to this day of Jesus’ resurrection by their correspondences and testimonies, including that which we call Christian scripture.
    In the wake of the brutal warfare against the pagan nations, we ought not to presume that our day is not coming. God withheld his wrath from the pagans for many, many years, but not forever. Their day of justice came to them unexpected and they were wiped out. We ought to turn our gaze to the crucified and resurrected Jesus, whose mercies are wider than the oceans. He is faithful and just to forgive all who repent. We ought all repent and receive the forgiveness of God, that we may see all aspects of his great character, not just his severity in judging severely evil people. Truly, God is not only just and wrathful against evil, but he is also compassionate, generous, patient, merciful, graceful, wise, powerful, loving, and kind. He is never out witted and he will never fail. His enemies cannot stand against him, but he gives grace to those who repent, and works together all things for their good so that in sickness, health, poverty, riches, loneliness and company, they may never cease to enjoy God. In so doing they bring him glory and honor and worship.
    Now notice how you have take a nonchalant argument against God, and turned it to a compelling proclamation of the gospel. Not only have you presented them with the life-saving news of the gospel, but you have also explained the holiness of God and addressed their accusations against God. God uses the gospel to open blind eyes and to grant repentance to unrepentant people. Lets be God’s instruments by testifying to and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially to the hard hearted who speak in anger against God.

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