For the third post considering God’s ways, we will focus on the wonderful truth that God’s judgment is also an operation of His love. While this seems to be a contradiction, scripture presents God’s judgment as being a redemptive force. The first chapters (1 to end of 3) of Romans explains how that we all have “fallen short of God’s glory 3:23” and are worthy of God’s righteous wrath. The Good News of Jesus comes to us through Paul’s writing to Christians in Rome! Quotes and thoughts come from Oswald Chambers’ devotional “Judgment and the Love of God.”
The Good New of the Gospel Begins with God’s Righteous Judgment
To understand God’s grace correctly, we must understand and consider God’s holiness. Paul reminds us that “we were helpless but that at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly (5:6)” We need to recognize our sinful nature and status as lost before we can recognize the beauty of God’s grace in His Gospel. The story of humanity’s rebellion begins in Genesis wherein the Fall occurs. This wasn’t a simple mistake or misunderstanding, it was open rebellion against God and His ways. God sends Adam and Eve out from the Garden. The curse of death and sin this enters into our world. We are rebels and sinners in our human nature. Paul makes this point clear in Romans. God by nature is Holy and hates sin and all things that are counter to His Perfection.
God judges sin because of His Holy and Righteous Nature. He can’t overlook it or ignore it according to His Justice and position of Judge over all His creation. Yet in the midst of His Judgment, God does something absolutely amazing! Romans 5:8-11 NKJV explains this Great Love of God found in Jesus:
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
God’s Judgment leads to salvation through Christ’s sacrifice for us. We must recognize that we are lost (helpless and powerless) in our own ways and need Jesus for salvation. God’s grace comes with His Righteous Judgment! That’s why Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and God’s judgment. Jesus explains this in John 16:8-11: NKJV
8 And when He [Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Judgment and conviction leads to repentance! There is no coming to God through Jesus Christ without repentance and understanding that we’re sinners. This is important to remember in sharing the Gospel with others!
Implications for sharing the Good News
Chambers reminds us:
“When we preach, we are not simply proclaiming how people can be saved from hell and be made moral and pure; we are conveying good news about God. In the teachings of Jesus Christ the element of judgment is always brought out— it is the sign of the love of God.”
When I first read this quote, I had to stop and consider what he means. Judgment proceeds grace. We don’t appreciate grace when we consider ourselves or others right before God. Jesus’ harshest words were not to the “sinners,” but to the self-righteous religious people who were prideful and misleading others. God’s Judgment reveals our true nature and leads us to trust in Him instead of ourselves. We need to share God’s Truth with others!
“Never sympathize with someone who finds it difficult to get to God; God is not to blame. It is not for us to figure out the reason for the difficulty, but only to present the truth of God so that the Spirit of God will reveal what is wrong. The greatest test of the quality of our preaching is whether or not it brings everyone to judgment.”
When encouraging others, we want to help others to “feel” better or offer some solution to a problem while forgetting the real problem that underlies all others! The main problem of every soul is that each human soul is separated, alienated from God due to sin(s). We need God’s grace because it is God’s grace and mercy that saves us! What good is accomplished if a person walks away feeling better but still unaware and confused about God’s Truth?
The second problem that every soul faces is living in a fallen world. Our world isn’t a static, neutral place, but a dynamic of social and cultural forces that shape us. That’s why we must carefully discern God’s Ways and Truths. Our culture impacts our perspectives and world view. Thankfully, God’s Word and Holy Spirit convict and shapes us when we walk with Him daily! God’s work in our lives is a witness to others! How we walk in our life is a powerful testimony.
Human nature desires independence from God: to make our own ways/paths and to seek self-fulfillment. We wrongly seek things and relationships to try to “find” or “make” meaning or purpose in our lives. We want to fill a “void” in our hearts. The problem is that only God can give us True, Abundant Life. For more about what Jesus means by abundant life
We need to find life in Christ not in our health, careers, families, relationships, or hobbies. These things are not true sources of life!
When sharing the Gospel and seeking to encourage others in God’s Truths, we need to proclaim God’s Truth as proclaimed in His Word. Remember that Jesus came in both grace and truth. We need both when dealing with those in our lives!
God’s power in our weakness!
Realizing that God’s Truth changes and shapes others releases us from the impossibility of changing others. Oswald reminds us that it’s God’s Spirit working through us:
“The moment we recognize our complete weakness and our dependence upon Him will be the very moment that the Spirit of God will exhibit His power.”
Remember how that Paul spoke about how God’s power and choice of the weak: 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NKJV
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
It’s all about God and His glory not about us or our abilities or knowledge.
Paul explains how that his thorn glorifies God in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NKJV
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Let’s daily walk in God’s Grace in the light of His Wonderful Truths! Know that it’s not about having everything “right” or “together” in your life! When God convicts us we need to respond in faith: trusting and obeying Him as He guides us knowing that all is about His glory not about our past failures. Thankfully, God views us with grace when we deserve eternal separation and judgment. Remember to share the Good News in light of the seriousness of God’s judgment on sin!
May God cause your love and passion for Him and His Word to increase each day He graciously entrusts to you! For God’s glory and your encouragement, I write.