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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Is God Really a Just God?

I don't ride my bicycle to work on rainy mornings. I just can't stand being wet and cold. So, I take my car. I have to go through a school zone so I slow to the posted 25 mph. Most of the time other cars whizz past me. They pay absolutely no attention to the flashing lights, nor even to non-flashing lights school zone. They would be speeding no matter what time they drove through. Or course, that all changes as soon as a policeman is stationed on the route. I find myself being the fastest driver even though I am obeying the speed limit.

Naturally, I want a policeman to swoop out of a side street on those days that people are flying past me. I want justice to be swift and terrible. I want to smirk as I watch them grovel before the policeman who writes their tickets with glee. I want to feel justified for driving the speed limit.

None of this has ever happened. I continue to drive the speed limit and others continue to exceed it. Where is the justice in that?

Then, there is God who is said to be absolutely just. So, why does evil exists with impunity? Shouldn't God swoop in with some lightning or fire from heaven to whack all the evil doers? I think a little complete destruction would go a long way in righting the things that are wrong with the world. Yeah! That's what I want! Maybe not.

If God whacked sinners as they sinned, where would I be? I would have been whacked a long time ago. I would probably have complained with something like, "You have to give me another chance! I'm only human," or something like that. I am sure that this would have seen just if I had been the one whacked. It just doesn't seem just for those who are trying to walk the straight and narrow.

And what about all the sins that I have committed that I didn't realize I was committing when I committed them? Sometimes I sin without any thought that it is a sin. I tell a story that will be hurtful for someone else and never think that it is gossip. I secretly loathe a person in my heart. I disregard something God has told me to do. Sometimes my own lack of holiness results in failing to notice the unholiness in my life. Shouldn't I get whacked, too?

Then, there is this thing that God has about being patient with us. He really does give each person the opportunity to repent. Most people don't take the opportunity. They think that God is impotent because they haven't seen anyone whacked lately. Thus, they continue on while He loves them and waits for their repentance. Does justice require an opportunity to repent? No, but love does. And God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but would receive everlasting life.

In the end there will be God's justice. It will be swift and terrible. In the end I will, like all others, kneel before the Lord Jesus. I will also stand before the judgement seat of Christ to receive what is due me while in this body. I wonder if I will be crying out for justice or mercy then. I think I know the answer.

2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 (NIV)
6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. 


high-expressions said...

Ah! A nice write-up on the subject. Good penning.

Ultimately, 2 Th 1:6-10 applies, for it has always been this: Righteousness and justice are the foundation of God's throne; love and faithfulness go before Him - Ps 89:14, also Ps 97:2. Ultimately, righteousness and justice of God prevails. When it has NOT prevailed yet, it is because God is longsuffering in His love and faithfulness towards us.

2 Pet 3:9 says it - "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Or Rom 2:4 - "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" Do NOT profane the grace of God. The promise in 2 Pet 3:9, and elsewhere included God holding out that He would punish, and that is why we cry, “God, how come you have NOT whacked the fellow yet!”

The 2 texts above underscore grace, but when it is grace, it also means it is up to God, we don't merit it. If today, God does NOT whack you, it does NOT mean God cannot whack you tomorrow! Some people just insist that God will NOT punish people in their life-time; that I think is NOT necessarily true. God does punish people, often with aim to reform.

If you are proud, you got to be careful, for God opposes you (James 4:6); and if you are stubbornly wicked, you be careful, too, God can whack in you in your lifetime, too! "If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. I will break down your stubborn pride..." (Lev 26:18-19).

Now, even if He does NOT punish you, He may allow you to experience the painful consequences of your choices (give over, we say). Ps 81:12 said, "So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. Here is another text that implied God can be punishing wicked people – Ps 91:8 – “You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.. You, go read Ps 91, the context is in our earthly life.

It is most important that we understand that ultimately the righteousness and justice of God must prevail, for that is the foundation of His throne. Don’t profane the slack or grace you get. Don’t play with fire! There is no equality, but God is just.


high-expressions said...

COnt. from above

Some people cannot get over what some other people are doing, seemingly able to get away with this and that, enjoying this and that, but NOT them, because they had to subscribe to the ways of the Kingdom; kinda of NOT equal-what! But God is just, no one knows when they will die; if one wants to postpone living right, and he dies, he has only himself to blame. We all are with volition, and so, that is just. It used to be, NOT uncommon for people NOT coming into salvation, NOT giving their lives over to the Lord or entering into salvation, because they wanted to “enjoy life” some more, or they were NOT yet willing to give up their lifestyles, which they knew were inconsistent with that demanded by the Kingdom. Our answer was, although we might NOT say it, “You will never know when you will die!” God is just - we don’t know when we will die, you only have yourself to blame if you miss it!

Sad to say (off-topic), now, people more easily come in, but often they come in, because what they hear is NOT they have to change, but that it is ALL God’s part, none theirs, change or NO change, none of their business; “if I change, it is God who changes me, if I don’t change, don’t blame me, it is His job-what! I am just to bask in grace!” The church grows in size but so, also, the shallowness of the church.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions - Lord, I do think about whether or NOT, I “whack” too hard, at your servants who misleads the sheep. It is by grace that I know any better, and I can be off, too; and so, like Ps Prentis, I am also saying (I quote Ps Prentis): “I wonder if I will be crying out for justice or mercy then. I think I know the answer.”