If the washing instructions tag on the shirt we’re wearing is showing, we might appreciate someone letting us know.

Should there be a bear on the trail ahead and we’re alerted to the fact, we stand to benefit from a far greater kindness.

The kindness of God, however, surpasses any human kindness we can know and encompasses almost everything we do know.

* * *

In His mercy and through His Word, God gives us full disclosure. He doesn’t hide anything.

  • He doesn’t cover up or sugar-coat the failures of His people.
  • He has no hidden agendas.
  • He doesn’t offer half-truths.
  • He never waffles.
  • He has no need to change His Word.
  • He reveals His attributes.
  • He makes clear what He loves and what He hates.
  • He created people with the ability to choose.
  • He warns us about sin and its consequences.

This list only scratches the surface of what God has been so kind as to reveal. However, it may include things which cause us angst. For instance, we may ask:

Is it a kindness that God calls some things sin?

When what God communicates bothers us, it’s sometimes because we fail to study out His Word, comprehend His holiness and righteousness, or honestly assess our own comfort level with sin (more on this at Oh, no. Not That Bible Verse). Yet God has mercifully made provision for us to be one with Him and be free of sin’s power (see The Holy Hallelujah!).

* * *

There is encouragement to be found in biblical passages which expound on the lovingkindness of God. Examples include:

Psalm 63:3;

Jeremiah 31:3;

Psalm 40:11;

Psalm 119:88; and

Psalm 98:2-3.

Yet the whole of Scripture—even portions describing hellfire and damnation—also underscore the kindness of God.

How so?

We don’t have to ignore warnings and “walk the path the bear is on” (Romans 6:23).  We don’t have to resist God’s invitation to know and love Him today and through eternity (I John 5:11-13).

* * *

We likely wouldn’t turn to Matthew 21:12-16 when looking for passages on God’s kindness. It details how, three days before the Passover and four days before His crucifixion, Jesus forcibly drove the merchants and moneychangers out of the temple. Nothing about His actions resemble kindness:

“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a robbers’ den.’” (Matthew 21:12-16)

Why do that?

Scripture reveals that God the Father being glorified and sinners being reconciled to God are at the heart of Jesus. (John 12:27-28; Isaiah 45:22; Matthew 11:28). What Jesus observed occurring in the temple, however, flew in the face of those non-negotiables. God was not being glorified in the place He had chosen to make His abode among men; money was. The temple area God had set apart for non-Jews and those considered impure to come for prayer and worship of Him was unavailable. It had been converted into a noisy, money making “swap meet” superintended by dishonest people.

The problem wasn’t that business was being transacted for the purpose of temple worship according to the Levitical law. Those traveling from out of the area to worship were required to purchase flawless animals for sacrifice and pay the temple tax with the proper currency. To that end, a legitimate need existed for exchanging currencies, setting exchange rates, and the buying and selling of sacrificial animals.

But these transactions were taking place right where prayer and worship of God by Gentiles was to occur!

In addition, because of greed and the relative ease with which out of town worshippers could be (and apparently were) overcharged, Jesus equated the way transactions were being conducted with thievery.

Israel’s religious leaders had grown comfortable treating God’s temple as though portions of it were available for discretionary use. Subsequently, sinners’ needs for access to God for repentance, worship, and prayer had turned into a financial windfall for those who actually made that access for some more difficult under the guise of advancing it.

Have you heard of “righteous indignation”?  This was it.

The hot anger, truthfulness, and in-your-face “This is wrong!” from God the Son was, in reality, an act of justice and kindness.

 * * *

 Jesus gave everyone a needed, shocking reminder of Who the temple belonged to and what it’s holy purpose was.

He cleared the way for anyone to regain the access to prayer and relationship with God that He intended them to have.

And all eyes were on the God-Man Jesus…

Who knew what was going to take place inside that very temple in a matter of days.

 * * *

Within the temple was a veil which separated everyone from the Holy of Holies, where God Himself chose to dwell on earth. No one could go beyond it, with one exception. Once per year (and after much preparation), the High Priest was responsible to enter and make atonement for the sins of the people before God.

When Jesus died on the cross to make atonement for sin, the temple veil (finely and intricately woven and believed to have been nearly sixty feet high and about four inches thick), was torn in two by an unseen power—from top to bottom:

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.”

(Matthew 27:50-51)

 * * *

Shortly before the Passover, Jesus cleared the way for non-Jews and foreigners to come to the temple for worship, prayer, and intimacy with God. He then carried through with salvation’s plan days later, becoming the one and only, perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity. God approved and immediately ripped the temple veil in two.

The veil of separation was no longer needed, praise God!

Since that moment, all believers in Christ have direct access to the very presence of God through Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-22).

How amazing!

* * *

We should never equate God’s kindness with acquiescence. His goodness and kindness never fail, nor do they conflict with His holiness and justice (Psalm 33:5). In His holiness and justice, God judges sin (Acts 17:31; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). In His kindness, He clearly communicates the consequences the un-repentant sinner before Him will face; nor will He force anyone against their will to know and love Him through eternity (Romans 2:5-11; John 3:16-21).

It is God’s justice which demanded a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. And it is God’s unfailing kindness which provided that sacrifice for our benefit:

“But God, being rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-6).

* * *

Can you imagine?

Us… made holy and seated with God the Son?!

Wow…

* * *

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You! (Psalm 63:3)

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

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