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The Great Dilemma of Scripture

This morning I read from Exodus and I came upon a passage that has left me Awe struck and amazed. Moses had just come down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant and Aaron and the people had made a calf of gold and were worshiping it; Moses then threw down the two tablets at the base of the mountain breaking them and unleashed righteous indignation against the people for their sinning against YHWH.

Moses then spoke with God and what God said should leave everyone in Awe of God and filled with great fear for Him. “Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, "Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!" The Lord said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin." (Exodus 32:31-34 NASB)

Do you see what he said? God said that “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My Book.” And “nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.” Do not think because God has not struck you down immediately for your sin that your sin will go unpunished. He has promised that there is a day of punishment coming for whoever has sinned against Him. Now wait just a minute, doesn’t that include you and I? I have sinned against God, I have broke His laws; in fact the bible tells us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NASB). People tell me all the time God will forgive them for their sin, yet here God says that he will blot out of His book whoever has sinned against Him and has promised a coming day of punishment for their sin.

Shall we continue? I then read in chapter 33; “Then Moses said, "I pray You, show me Your glory!" And He said, " I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion." (Exodus 33:18-19). “Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations." Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.” (Exodus 34:6-7).

Now wait a minute! God had already said that He would blot out of His book and punish whoever sinned against Him. Then He says that He “will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” So this begs the question; If God is true to His word and the bible declares that He is. How can God show grace and compassion on whomever He chooses when he already said that He would blot out of His book and punish whoever sinned against Him? Then we have the next passage that says this about God; “who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” It says plain as day here that He forgives sin yet sin will not go unpunished. How can this be, how can He do both? How can He forgive the man who sinned against Him and also punish the guilty?

Thus my friend is the great dilemma of scripture. God promises that whoever sins against Him, He will blot out his name from His book and on the day of punishment, He will punish them for their sins. Then at the same time says He will be gracious to whomever He chooses and have compassion on whomever He chooses. Then says that He will forgive iniquity, transgressions, and sins; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. How can this be?

The only answer my friend is the cross of Jesus Christ, let us take a look at Romans chapter 3. “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26 NASB)

This is why I consider this passage to be the greatest in all of scripture; because it declares God to be righteous while being gracious on whom He will be gracious and righteous in His showing compassion on whom He will show compassion. God is righteous in showing loving grace and compassion on whomever He chooses because they were redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ through faith. God is good in punishing men for their sins and God is good in having grace and compassion on whomever He chooses. God can by His loving grace and compassion forgive the sins of men; and yet the guilty will not go unpunished because Christ took their punishment as a man in their place. God punished Christ for our sins and we receive His righteousness through faith in Him. And now all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ are the redeemed of God, Justified before God through Christ taking our punishment for our sins, WOW!!! Who is the man whom God has been gracious to and had compassion on? The man on whom He has granted repentance and faith in Jesus Christ; call out to God, confess your sins to Him and beg Him to have compassion and be gracious towards you even though you have sinned against Him and deserving to have your name blotted out of His book and to be punished. I believe the word of God to be true in saying; “Whoever will call on the name of the LORD will be saved.” (Romans 10:13 NASB) Repent and believe in Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior and on the day of punishment you will escape the wrath of God against sin in Jesus.

Mike Peek a slave of Jesus Christ

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