The God of Judgement

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We live in a culture of tolerance.

Consequently, we don’t like the idea of a judgemental God. We don’t like a God that draws a clear line between right and wrong and then judges the wrong. Many reject a judgemental God.  They just want a God of love.

But deep down, we all want a God of justice.  And love.

The God of Justice

When we look at the cosmos we see that God is as creative as he is powerful. And he must like human beings a lot because he gives us all sorts of good things: love, food, sex, sunsets, beaches, oranges and wine.

God is perfect justice.

This is usually only a stumbling block to those who experience no true injustice.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”The people who are repelled by the idea of a just God are often people who have never experienced any significant injustice. ” quote=”The people who are repelled by the idea of a just God are often people who have never experienced any significant injustice. “]

Who loves Divine Judgement?

Consider all the crap that some people have to live with at the hands of others; then the God of justice moves from an embarrassment to a necessity to get up in the morning.

It is definitely wrong to machine gun children, or to rape teenaged girls and string them up in a tree to taunt their grieving, and helpless father or to force women and children into sexual, or any other kind of, slavery. You know that people do these things, right? If one’s life is filled with this kind of injustice, justice isn’t so easy to dismiss and the God who is justice isn’t so easy to reject.

God is Love

He’s also perfect love. Yeah, I know, perfect justice AND perfect love? How do you put those things together?

Well, if there truly is a God, I think it’s reasonable to expect that there’d be some things that would be, intellectually, a little hard to grasp.

He knew it was hard to grasp so he showed us what it looks like–his son on the cross–he judged Jesus as if he were us (justice), and then he treats us as if we were Jesus (love). Perfect justice and perfect love are right there at the cross.   It’s pretty clear that he will do anything and everything to bring you into a relationship with him. Everything, that is, except force you to be in a relationship with him.   That’s perfect love.

So if you are rejecting God, walk away from the one who heals the sick and blesses the poor, away from the one who eats with prostitutes and then lifts up those that are abused and seats them at the best seats at his table. The one who will bring justice to those who use people like objects and to those self-righteous folk who already have everything that they are going to get, away from the one can only woo you to him with the sacrifice of his love, and who loves you so much he won’t force you.


  1. RK Henderson

    I’ve found that the more I’ve been ill-used and abused, the less interested I’ve become in contention and vengeance. (It wasn’t always so, but I reached a moment of conversion in my life where all the suffering just turned into that.) I think this is what the Christian teaching on justice is getting at. To some, it doesn’t seem fair that, as Jesus said, heaven is full of hookers and drug dealers but there are very few seats for church-goers. But I kind of get it. If you’ve been forced to face your own fallibility, you’re just not turned on by the notion raining down pain on others. You’re literally more Godly.

    That’s my view of infinite justice. It’s not about some unavoidable spanking God doles out to everybody I’m mad at. Because God can see into every heart — in a way that no human ever can — he administers real justice — in a way that no human ever can. It’s not about what you did. It’s about redemption: how you felt about it, and how you feel about it now. So the concept of God’s inescapable justice is not frightening to me. (Human “justice”, on the other hand…)

    I stopped walking a Christian path because I found too much emphasis on retribution there, and too few Christians contradicting that out loud in public. But I hold out hope that better Christians will prevail.

    Excellent post, Trent!

  2. Trent

    I think you might be echoing something G. K. Chesterton said:
    “When a newspaper asked the question, ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ . . . G. K. Chesterton supposedly wrote a letter in response:

    ‘Dear Sirs:

    I am.

    Sincerely Yours,

    G. K. Chesterton.'”

  3. John den Engelsen

    I’ve thought about this a lot and I have an idea that we’ve plastered the gospel of salvation with so much muck that it is barely visible. Whether we like it or not, the barely-believing and non-believing public have this perception that belief in the Christian God involves adherence to things like anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, anti-science, conservative politics, family values, militarism, legalism (belief in the law to turn our nations for Christ) literalism/biblicism, patriotism/tribalism and a whole host of ‘isms, pet doctrines and political agenda that are more often than not barely biblical. The over-arching theme of restorative justice (the whole intent of Jesus death and resurrection) in scripture has been replaced with retribution justice, a false gospel in my not-so-humble opinion. I don’t think people are necessarily opposed to the gospel, God’s just solution. I think they are opposed to what they are expected to believe to be saved. Perhaps it’s not so necessary to believe in talking snakes and donkeys or that a man can live in a fishes stomach acid for three days. Perhaps the message of the story is more important than whether or not it’s literal or metaphorical. Perhaps we, the Church, have simply represented the Gospel as something distasteful.

    • Trent

      Hi John, You bring up some interesting points. Some people don’t reject Christianity because they misunderstand it. Others reject it because they understand it. This second group, in essence, might be just unwilling to give up their autonomy. Thanks for reading!

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