Heard it before, haven’t you? That God hates sin so much He has to punish it. He doesn’t want to punish us, so He punishes Himself in the form of His Son. Sounds downright bizarre to the intellectual.
I’ve always found it odd that anyone can say to another, “It isn’t head knowledge that saves you; it’s a relationship.” Who would believe, strictly by intellectual means, that God is like how He has been described over the years since Jesus’ death and resurrection? Our power to explain God is so weak, so inadequate, so pathetic that I can’t imagine anyone believing it intellectually unless the Holy Spirit has done His work in the heart of the one who hears the explanation.
How does someone who has not been prepared by God Himself come to believe in a God who is love and wrath simultaneously, a God who destroys nations while building up a selected nation, Israel? How does someone trust a God who expects total obedience, and destroys anyone who does not obey completely? How does someone — someone like Job — come to be absolutely grateful to a God who destroys everything he has? How do we understand God unless God has touched us first?
I maintain we can’t.
For God’s ways are not ours ways; His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isaiah 55: 8)
“Praise God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will.” (Ephesians 1: 2 – 5)