God – Kind and Stern

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In the last post on Romans 11 verse 22 came up – “Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God.” To get the context you will have to read the last 15 posts on Romans but I think that it is interesting that Paul puts these two things together. These don’t normally make our lists of the attributes of God. Hebrews 12:6 (which quotes from Proverbs 3) makes a similar point – “the Lord disciplines those he loves and he punishes everyone he excepts as a son.” There is a certain push and pull that comes with our relationship with God. He holds us close and loves us as his children but he is also not afraid to be stern with us. He is not afraid to show us our limits, put us in our place, and humble us so that we don’t think too much of ourselves. Many Christians have considered the kindness or love of God. And many have considered the sternness of God. But how often do we hold those two things in the healthy tension that they exist in when it comes to God. God is able to be both at once…just like the good parent He is.

Sternness without kindness would be our demise and extermination. The ironic thing is, kindness without sternness would have the same result.

0 Responses

  1. It makes me think of a couple of things from the Old Testament:

    (1) God’s description of himself in Exodus 34:6-7;

    (2) Aaron’s sons in Leviticus 10, where Nadab and Abihu are dealt with sternly, while Eleazar and Ithamar receive grace for their disobedience.

    If we emphasize only one aspect or the other of God’s nature, we misrepresent who he is.

    Grace and peace,

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