Tuesday, February 24, 2009

God's judgment

Our culture does not readily receive or appreciate God's judgment as given to us in Scripture. In other places on earth where the wicked are running rampant, the message of judgment is welcomed, and rightfully so. Just finished the last book of the Bible, Revelation. It resounds with final judgments on the earth, before the consummation when in Jesus heaven and earth become one in the new creation.

There is no need to see God's coming judgment as threatening. It is meant to be not only destructive of evil, but constructive by grace in all places God's grace in Jesus are touching. So when Jesus returns we can welcome that, knowing that in our case the judgment will be constructive and for our good. This is the question for us all, "Are we living in the grace of God available to us in Jesus?"

What is your first response when you hear or see the words, "God's judgment"? What does it conjure up in your mind? Is it unsettling, settling, or maybe some of both? For me it's some of both. Though Jesus took my judgment by his death on the cross, so that I need not fear eternal condemnation for my sins, yet I still will be judged by a loving yet devastatingly piercing, God of light. The fear of the Lord doesn't just begin at salvation, but continues on throughout all of life. Along with a growing love of God, should be a growing awe and reverence and yes, even fear. A fear not in the sense of doubting God's love for us in Jesus. But a fear born of appreciation in beginning to understand who this God is, that God is holy, as well as love. God essentially is love, but it's a holy love, a love to be understood in terms of God's holiness.

Why does our culture have such a hard time with God's judgment? I think there are a number of factors involved in this. How can we as God's people hinder or help others in regard to this?

What would you like to share in reference to God's judgment?

7 comments:

yipeng said...

I have to admit I have a poor understanding of God's judgment.

Would be interested to hear what others think..

yipeng said...

We are often more concerned about Man's judgment than God's.

nAncY said...

i find it an overwhelming thought.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ted:

I think perhaps the trouble people have with the idea of God's judgment today is two-fold: First, is what you indicate-- that God's holiness (which implies judgment) is divorced from the notion of God's love so that they are seen as mutually exclusive. Second, in an "I'm OK, you're OK" culture, we see no need for judgment, just a little more education.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yipeng,

Thanks, and important thought. And yes, I can share in your sense of loss in understanding this, as I'm at a loss in some ways myself.

I do believe we have to keep law and grace together, mercy and judgment, grace and truth.

When people take God's judgment seriously, only then can they really begin to experience God's mercy for themselves.

The problem can be when we walk around with a sense of God's judgment. God wants us to live with an overwhelming sense of God's grace.

Your point is good, and we can miss the grace of God when we care about Man's judgment over God's.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,

It is. I like N.T. Wright, "Surprised by Hope," in some of what he says on judgment. Interesting.

We need to accept it, though we don't understand it well, and sometimes in some of God's judgment in Scripture, we shrink back.

But we need to know at the heart of all of God's judgment is a good God, a loving God. God does all, even judgment as an act of love. Though such acts can be quite sad, yet also justice is something no moral being on our globe thinks unimportant.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Allan,

Thanks. And amen to what you say! Yes, everyone is okay and judgment seems surreal.

I wonder if stressing relationships as in broken between people, and between people and God is a better way to go in seeking to share nowadays, than stressing law as in the failure to keep rights and wrongs, like the Ten Commandments. Although in holding to the former, we must somehow get to the latter, or it must sooner or later happen in someone's life.