Why God’s judgment is also part of the gospel

August 7, 2012

In a recent dialogue with an atheist blogger, we were arguing about the universal human desire for justice. At one point, I told him that I love that verse in the Bible that says, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). He misunderstood the verse. He thought I was endorsing holy wars, terrorism, and violence. It’s obviously the opposite of that: because we trust that God will see to it that justice is fully and finally done, we can afford to wait on God, patiently and peacefully.

But by all means, we should want God to avenge. We should want God to judge. We should want God to have wrath. Trevin Wax makes this point in a new article in Christianity Today. He writes:

When we do away with the notion of God as Judge, we are left with a one-dimensional God—a sappy, sanitized deity whom we can easily manage. He nods and winks at our behavior, much like a kind elderly man who is not seriously invested in our lives. But the evil of our world is much too serious for us to view God as a pandering papa.

The Bible’s picture of God is much more satisfying. He is angry because he is love. He looks at the world and sees the trafficking of innocent children, the destructive use of drugs, the genocidal atrocities in Africa, the terrorist attacks that keep people in perpetual fear, and he—out of love for the creation that reflects him as Creator—is rightfully and gloriously angry.

The god who is truly scary is not the wrathful God of the Bible, but the god who closes his eyes to the evil of this world, shrugs his shoulders, and ignores it in the name of “love.” What kind of love is this? A god who is never angered at sin and who lets evil go by unpunished is not worthy of worship. The problem isn’t that the judgmentless god is too loving; it’s that he is not loving enough.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: