September 15, 2012

From Another Post

And via Brandon Field's blog:
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."

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