Romans 11.21-22 describes God this way, if God didn’t think twice about taking pruning shears to the natural branches, why would he hesitate over you? He wouldn’t give it a second thought. Make sure you stay alert to these qualities of gentle kindness and ruthless severity that exist side by side in God—ruthless with the deadwood, gentle with the grafted shoot. But don’t presume on this gentleness. The moment you become deadwood, you’re out of there.
God is both immensely kind and intensely severe. He Who is love is He Who is holy. These two seemingly opposite qualities exist seamlessly in the One True God. How?
The love and kindness of God is revealed in His willingness to live among us as one of us in order to become the punishment for all of us. The justice of God demands a guilty verdict to everyone who has ever disobeyed His commands, even once. All of us have disobeyed God, all of us ignore, deny and defy His commands daily. We all deserve a just God to declare us guilty and to condemn us eternally for not living in obedience to our Creator.
The love of God and the kindness of God provides a sacrifice to God that satisfies His requirement for justice while allowing Him to pardon us from all of our disobedience. This is the Good News. God pardons all those but only those who throw themselves upon Jesus for mercy accepting the exchange He offers us.
His perfect life for our rebellious life, His punishment on the cross for our freedom to enter heaven without spot or blame. This is the kindness and love of God revealed; that such an opportunity exists for all of humanity. But to those who reject Jesus’ provision, who continue to rebel against God’s love, who fail to humble themselves before God choosing to ‘earn’ their way to heaven, only God’s severity remains.
Jesus is the embodiment of God’s love and justice in perfect unity. It is His love that gives Himself as an exchange for our rebellion. It is the justice and severity of God that gives no mercy to the Son but condemns Him on the cross. It is the love of God that raised Jesus from the dead giving hope for all who come to Him.
It is the severity of God that raised Jesus from the dead proving all people will rise and stand before the Judge Who is their Creator. His condemnation will cast away from His eternal home into eternal suffering all those who reject His gift of love through Jesus the Savior. Perfect Justice requires punishment for disobedience.
The love of God is a pardon which exists for all who receive it but the severity of God remains for all who reject God’s means for justice.