When Jesus walked upon the earth, the Pharisees marveled that he ate with the Publicans and sinners. It was Jesus who extended grace to the Samaritan woman when no other would dare speak to her. Jesus healed the servant of the Centurion who was home sick while his master was away. Jesus had mercy on the woman taken in adultery. Jesus called Judas “friend” at the very moment of his betrayal. And it was Jesus who forgave erring Peter who denied Him thrice. At times, we fall victim to the ever present “New Testament God” theological error; the idea that somehow God is different in the NT than He was in OT times.
The book of Malachi teaches us that God never changes. There is but one God, and He is the same through the entire canon of Scripture. In all of the Scriptures, He is merciful, and deals so lovingly with undeserving sinners. As we do now, so then people failed Him. One prominent example of that is in Exodus chapter 32. Moses is gone for 40 days, and the people decide to foolishly abandon God’s commands. Aaron receives their gold and fashions a God for them to worship. This is the God they credit with their freedom from Egyptian bondage. Aaron is more than complicit in their sin, it is Aaron who molds the image of the golden calf. The Lord informs Moses of their rebellion, and resolves to entirely destroy the people. It is Moses who intercedes on their behalf and leaves the mount to rebuke them.
But God who is rich in mercy, indeed this same God that resolves to destroy the people, turns from His fierce anger to pardon them. He gives unto them the 10 commandments, and entrusts them with an entirely new way to worship Him and picture the sacrifice to come. Instructions for the tabernacle are given, and a priesthood is chosen. A priesthood that will be headed up by one man, Aaron. The same man, the same sinner, who fashioned a false god for God’s people to worship. The same man that was charged with their care and spiritual well being. A sinner, chosen for service. God chooses sinners. He is merciful to them when they are humble and repentant. He forgives them, and pardons them. He buries their sin, and blots it out. As far as the east is from the west is as far as He will remove our transgressions. If God could use sinners in OT times, He can certainly use like sinners in NT times.