Unbelieving skeptics frequently tell me, “I’m OK with your loving God, but I have no interest in following a God who judges!” Those who express this objection simply have not given careful thought to what they are saying.
Before we go any further, let me make one thing perfectly clear: In order for the world to have a God of love, this God must also be the God who judges men for their sins. Scripture is quite clear; God is love, to be sure (1 John 4:8), and He is also a judge (Genesis 18:25). Let me explain.
If God is not a judging God, then He must be indifferent to all the sin and suffering that takes place in this world. The victims of the Nazi death camps, the tens of millions who have died at the hands of Marxist dictators, all those who have died ghastly deaths at the hands of terrorists . . . all would go unavenged and their killers unpunished. A God who is ambivalent about sin and who refuses to judge evil would in no way be loving, nor would He be worthy of our love, trust, devotion and service.
Would it be loving for a father to leave his children in their disobedience and rebellion, refusing to judge their behavior and making no effort to correct it? Of course not! Love and judgment are simply opposite sides of the same cosmic coin that is held in the nail-scarred hands of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Freedom from judgement
Skeptics sneer that it is primitive and even dangerous to believe in a judging God; they presume that their modern education has liberated them from this bondage to the “superstitions” of traditional religion. But are they truly free? Have they really been liberated? Absolutely not!
Think about it this way: If there is no heavenly Judge on the throne — no heaven and no hell, no promised return of Jesus Christ to put all things right — then who decides what is good and what is evil? If there is no Judge, then we are left at the mercy of the opinions of various individuals who determine what is right and wrong. Who is to say there is any difference between Charles Manson and Mother Teresa? Who is to say that Joseph Stalin, who murdered millions of his countrymen, is any more or less righteous than Albert Schweitzer? When the power of public opinion rules, men are very likely to cry, “Set the murderer free and crucify the Christ!”
Without a God who is both loving and judging, we would live in utter hopelessness and despair. Every time a child is kidnapped and murdered, every time a deranged gunman shoots down women and children in a mall, we would lapse into the conclusion that life is short, brutal and
meaningless. Every human heart — both of the Christian believer and the unbeliever alike — cries out for justice. We wonder why evil people — from corrupt politicians to maniacal murderers — seem to “get away with it.” The only way to get justice — true justice — is for there to be a true Judge who will judge justly and rightly and ultimately put an end to all injustice.
An expression of love
And that is why the Christian faith, which extends the sure and certain promise of the return of Jesus Christ to put every enemy under His feet, is the ultimate expression of God’s love for the world. Jesus is coming back. All wrongs will be made right. All evil will be done away with. Our deepest desires for love and significance will be fulfilled. That is God’s promise to all who will place their trust in the atoning death of Jesus Christ.
Know this – What you believe about this PROMISE will determine how you live in the PRESENT!
The martyrs throughout the history of the Christian church knew this truth and were able to endure unimaginably terrible deaths for the glory of God, dying while they sang spiritual songs and hymns of the faith. They were content to leave justice and vengeance to the One who is coming back to judge the living and the dead. You and I may never be confronted by a gladiator in the arena, but we will inevitably be confronted by injustice, suffering and death . . . in our own lives and in the lives of people around us. We can either rage and grieve as those who have no hope . . . or we can trust in the promise of God.
The greatest injustice
Here is something for you to consider: The greatest injustice in history took place about 2,000 years ago. The only truly innocent Man who ever lived — the Man who knew no sin — was accused of crimes He never committed, cruelly beaten beyond recognition, and nailed to a wooden cross where He hung, gasping to draw each tortured breath, while the crowds around him jeered and laughed and called out to Him to save Himself.
An innocent man executed . . . our hearts fill with outrage at the thought. And yet this Man died with your name on His heart so that you might live forever with Him. He died so that justice would be served on all your sins and mine . . . but that justice was served on Him in our place.
Is God a God of justice? Yes, but He is also a God of inconceivable, eternal love and grace. He is both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26). At the cross, as the psalmist said, “Righteousness and peace kiss each other.” God loves you so much that He visited His perfect justice on His only begotten Son, so that you may have peace with Him for eternity.
Will you accept this God of love . . . this God of justice? I pray that it will be so for you today!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . .AMEN!
Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.