“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
Knowing God’s Goodness, Justice, and Mercy
Besides what God has made, there is also a “second class” of His works, those who which flow from His nature. They provide crystal clear evidence of His divine perfections. First of all, there is God’s goodness: the way He arranges the course of our lives. He shows us that although everyone benefits from God’s goodness, He specially blesses His people. The wicked and evil, meanwhile, are objects of His severity.
Second, there is His justice. It is impossible doubt His justice because He regularly punishes the wicked’s crimes. He is also the protector—yes, even the Avenger—of the innocent! He showers His people with blessings. He gives them what they need, soothes their grief, gives solace in the midst of suffering, and provides for their safety.
It is true that He often allows the guilty to get away with things for a while. Even the innocent can be persecuted and oppressed for a time. Yet, such circumstances should not cause us to doubt God’s justice. In fact, the opposite understanding should be drawn. When one crime draws out a visible manifestation of His anger, it is because He hates all crime. When He leaves many crimes unpunished, it is because there is a coming Judgment. He will surely inflict His judgment upon those crimes—just at the Last Day. He is storing up His wrath against the wicked.
Finally, there is His mercy. He gives us ample opportunity for us to think about His mercy. For example, He continually sheds upon sinners perpetual kindness. He does so until He subdues our wickedness and wins us back to Himself.