As I look at the Bible with the big picture view, there appears to be a constant state of tension between God’s justice and His love. In the Old Testament, justice reigns, typified by the Ten Commandments written on cold, hard tablets of stone, while in the New Testament God demonstrates His love for humanity, personified in the warm bundle of the baby in Bethlehem.
The story of the Bible has two main protagonists, Adam and Jesus. Their lives are in sharp contrast in the consequences of their actions:
When Adam sinned, justice prevailed, bringing punishment and death.
When Jesus died, love prevailed, bringing forgiveness and eternal life Adam came first, setting the stage for God’s holiness to be revealed, a God who dwells in unapproachable light, whose nature demands truth and justice. Adam’s catastrophic choice to disobey God in the Garden of Eden caused the scales of justice to weigh heavy with guilt and sin and God’s heart to weigh heavy with grief over His creation. Sin was rampant by the time of Noah and its excesses were an abomination in God’s sight, such that He chose to almost completely wipe us out with the Great Flood – a picture, I like to think, of the ocean of tears that He may have shed in the anguish of His Great Love for us.
Mankind was given a second chance through Noah’s descendants, but sin still had us in its grip, and we needed a benchmark to show us right from wrong, since personal conscience had failed. So God gave Moses the law on the summit of Mount Sinai, where other men could not approach without being destroyed by God’s holy presence. The law was the yardstick for us to follow and to know God’s heart for how we should live. We did not thrive under the law. Kindness, goodness and mercy were not the order of the day and there was a dark period of 400 years between the Old and New Testament where the Bible is silent, perhaps because the events of that period were unspeakably evil.
Jesus’ advent into time and space 2,000 years ago tipped the balance of the scales in our favor, when He paid the price of sin for all who would receive Him. God’s love through the sacrifice of His son made it possible for justice to be carried out, but for mankind to be saved. We cannot reverse Adam’s choice or all the wrong things we have said and done, but we can accept God’s love for us, ask for forgiveness and “turn from our wicked ways.”
The angels are watching to see whether we will choose life or death. Choose life and show the spiritual realm that we love God and are grateful for His grace, without having seen Him.