Raise your hands if you relish the thought of being judged by others. None of us like “coming up short”. Therefore, it is not surprising that when it comes to God’s judgment, Christians can become rather sensitive and defensive. We can even be a little embarrassed by it, with the tendency to focus our culture’s attention toward other ‘more seemly’ attributes such as: love, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. Now there’s a God we can get behind! Some Christian’s even encourage wrong-headed distinctions between the “Old Testament God” and “New Testament God”. The fact is, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Heb. 13:8)” We read of God’s compassionate grace in the Old Testament (for example: Psalm 145; Hosea 2), and Jesus’ very clear teaching about the judgment to come upon those who trust in their own works rather than his (Mt 5:22; Jn 3:16-18). The whole bible affirms God’s love and judgment, from Genesis to Revelation. How can we be like Jesus and faithfully convey to our culture both of these essential attributes?
The bible teaches, and sober consideration of life affirms, that true love begets righteous judgment. We understand that 100% permissive parenting is not good parenting! Likewise, God’s pure love necessitates just judgment. In fact any effort to temper God’s judgment comes at the expense of his love rather than promotion of it. We only understand the infinite depth of his love for us when we comprehend his infinite hatred of sin.
The best illustration to a world sceptical of a “judgmental” God is the cross itself. At the cross we see the perfect execution of justice, and the perfect expression of love!
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” – 1 Peter 3:18a