On the Plains of Moab Blog
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June 16, 2012, 11:51 AM

Wrestling with Judgment

It is, I suppose, a hallmark of Mainline Christianity to cast a critical eye upon anything in the Bible that might suggest that there might actually be anyone who might not make the final cut on Judgment Day.  We have seen for years, a creeping Universalism within our churches, lead by ministers who have figured it all out, and have learned that there are some portions of Scripture that must be taken with a grain of salt becuase afterall, it represents an ancient mindset.  God is love!  God loves everybody!  God would never send anyone to hell.  A loving God would not do that!

Now, I must agree that God is love.  And, I would, on the basis of John 3:16 affirm that he loves everyone; and on the basis of John 3:17, affirm that he doesn't "send" anyone to hell.  However, I would also say that God would not be loving unless he judged evil and sin in the world!  Tis an uneasy tension that we must live with, being unable to grasp the mind of God fully.  I have always latched onto Abraham's incisive exclamation in in Genesis 18:25  "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?" (ESV).  Of course he will!

I do, on some level, understand why some of my "progressive" colleagues express horror at God's judgment of sin and evil.  Their denial that many people will continue, in spite of heartfelt pleading, in coldness and unbelief, never desiring the goodness of God and receiving in the end exactly what their hearts desired - an eternity seperated from God.  That is sad stuff.  And, I wish it were not so.  Well, for the really evil people....Maybe....  But, for the average, know-it-all, so-called atheist -- No, I don't want anything bad to fall.  But then again, you're reading a blog by a guy who demonstrates grace and kindness to stinkbugs!  I kindly put them out of the house in a courteous manner!

Yes, I know, it's silly to have mercy upon a stinky, no good, disgusting stink bug...Come to think of it.  There has to be a sermon there somewhere!

God's judgment is a cause for grief on a major level.  However, as we see in Rev. 19, it is also a cause for joy to the Saints.  God has dealt with sin and evil.  He has answered his promises of a new creation.  As N.T. Wright likes to say, he will put the world to rights.  This is something that we all long for!  Further, it is a call for embodying the life that God desires to give to everyone.  As Peter says, The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Pet. 3:9 ESV).  And so, the certainty of judgment should prompt us to be about the business of proclaiming the Good News in word and deed.  Never glorying in the downfall of even the most wicked of humanity.

For sure!


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