I’m not exaggerating when I say that every day, when I hear about what’s happening in our world, and when I consider my own failures, imperfections and sins, this prayer goes through my lips or my mind:
“Oh Lord, why did you ever make humans? Why didn’t you just settle for animals, which are far more honorable? How can you put up with the wickedness of man, day after day, year after year, and millennium after millennium? If I were you, I would have given up on humanity and started all over again, long ago”.
This sentiment is shared, in a more loving and tolerant way, in Scripture:
What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet (Psalm 8:4-6).
God is not only immeasurably patient with us, but he crowns us with honor and glory. He pours out unending blessings on us-far more than we could ever deserve. Why?
Most simply, we’re told that God loves us-the crowning glory of His creation. And He loves us so much that He sent His son to suffer our punishment for us:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 NIV).
But God’s mercy is not without limit, and it occurred to me, while thinking about these amazing things, that despite what our Calvinist friends believe, He also loves our will to be His, which some of us have. Yes, it’s true that humans are lost and in need of the grace of God, but to trash the concept that mankind can will, and can want to love God, is an insult to His creation. It’s an insult to the honour and glory He has given us, turning us into unwilling, heartless minions.
The flip side of God’s patience and mercy is His justice, and when we fallen people of His creation reject His Son, we are rejecting His patience and mercy:
How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29).
God’s justice is insulted if we try to say that man has no will of his own. God does not send heartless, mindless, powerless humans to His place of justice, without giving them the chance to repent.