Two Attributes of God Neh. 9:16-17 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In this lesson, we are going to discuss two attributes of God. We are going to discuss his mercy and his wrath.
The first attribute is God’s Mercy – Neh 9:16-17 – when the Jews left Egypt, God provided everything they needed and promised to give them the land of Canaan. But they dealt proudly against the Lord, forsook his commandments, hardened their necks, rebelled against him and determined to go back to Egypt. Rather than wipe them out, God was merciful with them. That’s because he is a God “ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” From Neh 9:18-31 you see repeatedly how the Lord’s mercy, grace, longsuffering, forbearance, kindness and deliverance spared the nation.
The second attribute is God’s Wrath – Ex 15:7; Ex 32:10-12 – when the Jews made the golden calf, God was ready to destroy the whole nation in a way that was even worse than what he did to Egypt. Moses described God’s wrath as “fierce wrath.” His wrath is accompanied by fury and jealousy [Ezek 16:38], by fire and everlasting destruction [2 Thes 1:7-9; Matt 13:41-42], and by laughter and mockery [Prov 1:24-28]; he has forsaken and rejected his people [Jer 7:29, 12:7], and he will render vengeance to his enemies [Deut 32:41-43], breaking them with a rod of iron and dashing them to pieces [Ps 2:9], treading them in the winepress of his fierceness and wrath [Rev 19:15] and consuming them away [Zech 14:12-13].
It is spiritual damnation to reject the mercy of God extended to you in Jesus Christ [Titus 3:5] and presume that God’s mercy will allow you into heaven some other way. Jesus is the only way to the Father [Jn 14:6]. Every other way you try will wind you up in the lake of fire [Rev 21:8]. That’s because the wrath of God abides on you [Jn 3:36; Rom 1:16-19]. Both attributes must be considered.
Likewise, it is ludicrous for saved men and women to sin with impunity assuming that God doesn’t mind because of his goodness, longsuffering, forbearance, mercy and grace. If you are saved, you have been saved from his wrath [Rom 5:9, 1 Thes 5:9] because of Jesus Christ. But don’t think for a minute that God has changed his mind about your sin. Luke said that great fear came upon the church when Ananias and Sapphira were killed for lying to God [Acts 5:5, 11], and Paul said you should work out your own salvation with fear and trembling [Phil 2:12-13], you can be destroyed for defiling the temple of God [1 Cor 3:16-17], and you should be terrified at the prospect of facing Jesus Christ [2 Cor 5:10-11] at his fiery judgment [1 Cor 3:11-15]. Both attributes of God must be considered.
Conclusion: the mercy of God is wonderful, indeed, but you must always be mindful of the wrath of God. Both attributes are in our God. Get in on the mercy of God by receiving Jesus Christ. And stay in the mercy of God by walking in the fear of God.