Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
Here is described the fundamental nature of YHWH. He is perfect love and perfect justice. This is Father God as described in what we call the Old Testament. Some have mischaracterized how God is described in the OT as if He were described as some sort of angry ogre. It’s just not true. God has always been Who He is – the dispenser of perfect love and perfect justice. To be God, nothing less can be expected. His grace is unending and His justice is unquestionable both of which are juxtaposed in an eternally perfect way with His love – an enduring, eternal love for all that He has created.
Although inspired and inerrant, Holy Scripture can still leave some questions in our finite minds about the Infinite God. It only makes sense that an eternal, invisible God cannot be perfectly understood by finite, tangible people. I mean, who do we think we are, God? If we fully understood all of His Nature, His Being and His doing then He wouldn’t really be the God Scripture describes or, worse yet, we would be Him (and that thought is somewhat terrifying). He is the Creator of the universe who spoke all things into existence. Think about it. He created all things from nothing using His Words. We simply are unable to fully understand all aspects of Who He is and what He does – and that is a good thing. There is actually great peace in this truth. He is God. We are not. Hallelujah!
Yet, His divine nature of love and justice is clear. It was this fundamental truth that sent Him to the cross. Only in offering Himself on the cross as an innocent sacrifice could His perfect justice be fulfilled by His perfect love. By His stripes we are healed. He truly is our salvation. Thanks be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The image of the invisible God. Grace and Truth enfleshed. The Redeemer of our souls.