Indeed, when examining the patterns of God, Christ, and God’s people in the Scriptures, this dual response toward enmity emerges-the one reaction characteristic of the divine and Christian life, and the other exhibited in extreme instances.
The pattern of God’s actions in Scripture is characterized by long-suffering grace. But then comes the point of judgment. The inhabitants of Canaan experienced this extended grace followed by decisive judgment when, after four hundred years, their “iniquity became complete” (cf. Gen. 15:16). Likewise, the Israelites of the Exodus, after repeated rebellion and unbelief, were finally barred from the Promised Land (cf. Num. 14).225 The generation of the Exile found out what life was like when, after two hundred years of God’s patience, his hand of grace was released and justice was given her due (cf. Hosea).'” There is long-suffering to God’s grace, but there is also judgment. Note the balance between the two in that supreme revelation of the character of God in Exodus 34:6-7.
The pattern of Christ is also that of repeated grace, but then comes the point of judgment.”-” In the closing chapters of the Bible, both God and Christ are revealed as the Divine Avenger (Rev. 6:9-17; 18:21-19:2; 19:11-16). After the grapes are trampled in the bloody winepress of God’s wrath (Rev. 14:19-20),29 the saints in heaven sing the “Song of Moses” and the “Song of the Lamb” (Rev. 15:3-4).”‘ The same Christ who said, “Love your enemies,” will return one day in vengeance to destroy the recalcitrant.
So also the pattern of God’s people is to be that of repeated grace. But there may also come a point in time when judgment must be called for (i.e., the voicing of imprecations), and the righteous will delight to see it accomplished (e.g., Ps. 58:10-11; Rev. 18:20).*
I’m so thankful for the cross of Christ. Soli Deo Gloria!
*John N. Day. Crying for Justice: What the Psalms Teach Us About Mercy and Vengeance in an Age of Terrorism (Kindle Locations 75-85). Kindle Edition.