As in Galatians 3:22-23, Paul describes all people to be like prisoners. The cause of this sad situation is their own evil attitude: they refuse to obey God. That was the first evil act that people ever did (Genesis 2:15-17 and 3:1-11). The same evil attitude is the reason for much of our evil behaviour today. That is why Godís law declares his judgment against us (Galatians 3:10; Deuteronomy 27:26).
Sometimes a judge could order the death of a criminal, but instead he sends the criminal to prison. So, although the judgment is severe, it actually gives hope to the prisoner. He has hope because, in the future, he may again become a free man.
God could have destroyed all human life on earth at the time of Noah (Genesis 6:5-8). However, he did not do that because of his mercy. His mercy means the help that he gives because of his great kindness. So, although he punished the wicked people, he saved Noah and his family.
At the present time, people are like prisoners, because their own evil behaviour controls their lives (7:14-24). However, in his mercy, God is making people free (8:1-4). He does this for those people who accept his good news, the gospel (1:16). They turn from their evil behaviour to invite Christ into their lives (6:23).
In the future age, all the people on the new earth will know Godís mercy (8:18-21). There will be no wicked people, and no people who refuse to obey God, among them (Romans 2:8; Revelation 21:8). At the present time, God in his mercy wants to forgive them (Exodus 34:6-7; Ezekiel 18:21-23). He invites them to join his people (Isaiah 55:6-7). However, that opportunity must end and it will end very suddenly (2 Peter 3:9-10).
Next part: The greatness of God's wisdom (Romans 11:33)
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© 2017, Keith Simons.