Expanding on last Sunday’s sermon
The topic of God’s judgement and His divine justice is one that can create havoc in almost any social gathering, mostly because its implications are very unsettling. If God is judging evil among the nations, the reasoning goes, it surely means He is angry. And clearly, the idea of an angry God is in direct opposition with what we find in the New Testament. Also, talking about God’s judgement makes Him look as if He is out there looking for someone, anyone, to let it have it and vent out some frustration.
Does the Almighty have bad hair days?
Then we have the whole issue of whose justice is He applying if He is, in fact, judging and condemning the nations.
Charles Darwin, of theory of evolution fame, once said:
I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe… will be everlasting punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.
Ours is a problem of perspective. Our sin distorts that perspective: it makes us look bigger and God smaller. With this warped view, we either believe that God has no business passing judgement over what is clearly our right to choose any lifestyle we please, or we project unto Him the way we are, i.e. if we judge people for egocentric reason, then we expect God to follow suit.
Even a casual reading of Zechariah 12 – 14 will inform us that something serious is happening. It’s not in every passage of Scripture that we read about the destruction of nations in terms we find in this text.
Why would God do something like this?
Because God takes His honor very seriously,
I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols. – Isaiah 42:8
and He will not tolerate the affront our sin represents to that honor.
Now, the good news is that even in His judgement, the LORD is not like us. In His judgement of the nations, when condemning sin He is doing what His honor and justice demands, but He is not venting, He is not doing it out of frustration.
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? – Ezekiel 18:23
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? – Ezekiel 33:11
No, the Almighty does not have bad hair days.
God’s justice and judgement of sin is fueled by His most distinguishing attribute: His holiness. When He loves, He does not love like us. When He is compassionate, He is not compassionate like us. And when He demands justice because our sin has transgressed what is due to Him, and to Him alone, He demands it in a way that is not the way we would do it.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. – Isaiah 55:8
Then, that is our hope. The fact that He is holy, holy, holy in everything He does, including His administration of ultimate justice should encourage us to trust, rest, hope in Him.
He will right every wrong.
Yes, we should respond with hope to His holy justice, but also with action. We must strive to see His justice – His, not ours – being fulfilled here and now. It is part of our call to be His instruments, so people can get a taste of our LORD’s righteousness when they see us fighting against human trafficking, defending those who cannot defend themselves, or speaking out against all types of racism.
Finally, we should also keep a close eye on our own heart, and discern the reasons we want justice to be serve. Is it our brand of justice that we look to enforce, or is it the holy justice of our LORD?
If I can help you in any way as you travel this path, following our LORD in humility, please let me know.
Recordemos Su gracia.