God’s mercy is expressed in repeated attempts to bring people into a relationship with Him. Forgiveness finally came through Jesus, the perfect sacrifice.
A wrong understanding of the purpose of the Old Testament and the Old Covenant Law leads to a misunderstanding of God’s character. Most people believe God gave the Law to show us what we needed to do to obtain relationship with Him. But the Law was never intended to bring us into relationship with our heavenly Father. If people knew how good God is, they would love Him and live for Him. That in turn would solve all the problems of the world. But God has been so slandered that most people don’t know Him as the good and merciful God He really is.
For 2,000 years, after Adam’s fall, God dealt with mankind through mercy and grace, which wasn’t evident when the Law came. For instance, God protected the first murderer (Gen. 4:15) instead of killing him as the Law later prescribed (Lev. 24:17). But when the Law came, God’s wrath was released against sin
Yet this wasn’t God’s original reaction to sin, as can be seen by the fact that it was 2,000 years after Adam’s sin when He gave the Law and released His wrath. He wasn’t imputing (counting) man’s sin unto him until the Law was given.
God’s mercy is expressed in his attempts to relate to us by Mercy and Grace, but He couldn’t just look the other way and ignore sin. The sin debt had to be paid. That’s why Jesus came. He suffered all of God’s wrath against all the sin of all of mankind (John 12:32).
John 12:32 King James Version (KJV)
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Those who receive God’s grace by accepting salvation as a gift by faith in Jesus don’t have any more wrath against them. Hallelujah!