The sons of Korah had a way with words. They’re the ancient authors of Psalm 85. There they describe wonderfully the story God wants to write in our hearts.
Two verses, in particular, speak to the narrative that God is no more than an angry hall monitor, waiting for us to mess up again. They write:
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. (vs 10,11 ESV)
God is love (1 John 4:7) and His love throughout the Old Testament is most often described as steadfast. This is an unshakeable, all-present, fervent love. And because God is love, His character must exude righteousness. There is nothing—no suffering, no injustice, no longing—that God doesn’t know and care about. (Luke 21:18) He is not passive because genuine love cannot be passive.
Therein lies the seemingly unresolvable conflict, which leads us to believe a false narrative: God is either love and will just get over the times I blow it or God is righteous and becomes angry at me when I sin.
Psalm 85 tells us another story. A good story. A story vividly lived a thousand years later as Jesus hung on a Roman cross. God’s love and God’s righteousness are on full display in Jesus.
The real story
The love of God the Father initiated our rescue from sin and death; the faithfulness of Jesus accomplished this rescue. Because Jesus lived the perfectly faithful life that we cannot, the words spoken by God the Father as He looked down from heaven can be the very words we hear from our heavenly Father.
“This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17)
This is not because we deserve it—we don’t—but because we are, by faith, united to Jesus. He has taken our sin and given us His righteousness. (2 Cor. 5:21) This is how righteousness and peace kiss each other.
The story God wants to write is this: while our hearts are more sinful and flawed than we can ever dare believe, we are also more loved and accepted by God, because of Jesus, than we ever dared hope.
That is the story to tell ourselves, and the generations who follow in our steps.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill McCaskell is the National Director for One Hope Canada.