As we have explored the Gospel more slowly, some aspects of this message can seem out of place. What I mean is that we make assumptions about the nature or even the reasons for the Gospel. But, until we evaluate them, we should take the time to consider some of the implications of what we may have previously taken for granted.
The Gospel’s kindness is one of those areas of the Gospel message we should consider more carefully.
Because we know the Gospel has been preached, Jesus has been crucified, buried, and raised, we assume (and maybe not unjustly) that it was an inevitability. However, I wonder on what basis we make that determination. And do we understand how it impacts all the other aspects of the Gospel we have discussed?
If God had to send Jesus, and Jesus had to die, and if the church had to preach the Gospel, there are a lot of had-to’s there. What gives us the confidence today to believe this?
Now, I want to clearly state, there is a sense in which this is a thought experiment. But it is designed to help us become aware of an aspect of God’s character we do not always consider. We can say that God is loving, merciful, and patient. But do we understand what it means for God to be kind?
The essential idea of the Gospel’s kindness is that God didn’t have to be. God could have judged every last human being alive, condemned them to hell, and would have been within his power and authority to do so. But that is not what happened. God did not execute immediate judgment. God waited.
God considered all the options available and choose to be kind. He chose the cross. He chose to show his love toward sinners and unleashed his wrath on himself.
The apostle Paul says it this way in Romans 3:
…because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.Romans 3:25b-26 NKJV
“God passed over the sins that were previously committed.”
God made a choice not to condemn those who rightly deserved to be.
That’s what kindness looks like. God could have, and God would have been justified if he would have, taken immediate action against sin. But there was something else God was considering. God was considering his own glory.
God protects his own character even when his majesty has been offended by sinners.
This is one of the few places in Scripture where we are given an insight into God’s thought process. But it is a vital revelation of how God makes decisions.
The Gospel’s kindness is that God did not have to save. God did not have to redeem lost sinners. But God did. And that is the greatest act of kindness ever performed.