St. John's constant theme was God's inexhaustible mercy. He often coaxed sinners to repent, as he does here:"Suppose that a believer who once was pleasing to God becomes full of wickedness and commits grievous sins that exclude him from the kingdom. I will not allow even a person like that to despair, although he may have grown old practicing his unspeakable wickedness.
"Now if the wrath of God were a passion, a person might well despair of quenching the flame that his many sins kindled. However, because the divine nature is passionless, God never punishes nor takes vengeance with wrath, but with tender care and much lovingkindness. So we must be of much good courage and trust in the power of repentance.
God does not punish for his own sake even those who have sinned against him, for nothing can harm that divine nature. Rather, to our advantage he acts to prevent our perverseness from worsening by our habitually neglecting him. Even a person who places himself outside the light inflicts no loss on the light. But shut up in darkness, he suffers the greatest loss himself. Similarly, he who habitually despises that almighty power, does no injury to the power, but inflicts the greatest possible injury on himself. And for this reason God threatens us with punishments—and often inflicts them—not as avenging himself, but by way of drawing us to himself."
September 15, 2012
From Another Post
And via Brandon Field's blog:
Posted by TS at 12:39 PM