When the hammer of justice falls to judge the unrighteous, what should it look like?
This is a serious question that I would like to ask every Christian, and I truly hope you take a moment to carefully evaluate the matter. Much confusion and disinformation has muddied the water pertaining to this, and false teachings have been interjected into our society specifically designed to relegate the children of God to a perpetual state of weakness and subjugation.
Oddly enough, many in the world (despite its wickedness) have a better grasp on the true meaning of justice than do most Christians. Political correctness and cowardice have shown their ugly faces in too many congregations in order to brow-beat parishioners into believing that they are merely "sheep to the slaughter" – that justice must always bow the knee to kindness whenever possible.
But consider this:
A simple word-search through the Bible reveals that the terms "justice", "injustice", and "unjust" combine for a whopping 161 mentions in Holy Scripture. This is lid-to-lid; from the first reference to justice in Genesis 49:16, to its final reference in Revelation 19:11 (when it was written of Jesus);
"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war."
Interesting... The characteristics described in that scripture don't exactly resonate with many major preachers at large today.
And what of the writer in the book of Proverbs who wrote;
"When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers." (Prov. 21:15)
Terror to evil-doers? Where exactly do we hear this preached in our churches?
Consider The Lord's words through the prophet Isaiah:
“For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them."
And concerning the downfall of Israel because of their wickedness?
"This is what the Lord says to you, house of David: “‘Administer justice every morning; rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done — burn with no one to quench it." Jer. 21:12
Note in this scripture that God said, “…because of the evil that you have done”. This proves that inaction on the part of those who are tasked with administering justice is in itself a great evil in the Eyes of Almighty God. Does this not support Edmund Burke’s great quote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”?
Justice is vital to our walk with God. He made it perfectly clear that an unjust society will quickly fall from His good graces into judgment and decay.
But what does God’s justice look like when it comes? Is it fluffy and soft? Is it all conciliatory pats on criminal’s backs for "only being human"? And when justice comes – is it esoteric or metaphoric by nature, or does it manifest in very palpable ways? Does it come only in the form of lightening bolts and earthquakes, or is it also delegated (like all other things) to man?
For the answers, we must start at the beginning:
God gave dominion of this world over to man, and scripture is clear that His gifts are irrevocable. Consider, then, that even when man foolishly gave that dominion to God’s enemy, The Lord still would not rescind that gift (by force) lest His justice be impugned. Therefore it has always been man’s job to set the breaks in the bones of humanity – our job to act on behalf of our Holy Father to make things right when something occurs to displease Him.
Peruse this covenant command given to Noah after the deluge, the first time we failed in this charge:
“Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.” Genesis 9:6
This edict from God did not state that God Almighty would personally shed the blood of those who shed blood. Rather, He was clear that mankind’s “avengers of blood” would (in fact) be other humans. This system of justice would assure that all things remained perfectly aligned with the original gifts of dominion and free moral will. Whenever man transgressed against God’s law, it would be man who was held responsible for enforcing that law and for setting things straight.
This also explains why Jesus had to come as a man in order to make the atoning sacrifice. God’s gift of dominion requires that if any wrong is to be set right in this world, it must be done by a human of his/her own free will – even if that “human” is Almighty God. No mere man could have ever lived a perfect life and make that astonishing atonement for our sins – thwarting the enemy’s strangle-hold over our lives by fulfilling the terms of that unholy contract between man and the devil.
Abba sent Yeshua to do this on our behalf.
So as it pertains to justice, the Bible is clear that God’s expectations of man is that every society be just and righteous (upstanding) before Him. Paul was very blunt about this in his letter to the Romans:
“For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” Romans 13:3-4
These are hardly the words of pacifism and placation that we are likely to hear from pulpits and podiums in many arenas today.
Not only has mankind been given the authority to govern and police itself (as it pertains to matters of justice and wrath), but we become subject to a much greater (and far more terrible) wrath should mankind fail to act in good faith to uphold and maintain the laws of God. We saw this in the deluge during the days of Noah and in the account of Sodom and Gomorrah. When God Almighty lowers the hammer of justice, you had best either be in right standing with Him, or already dead. As the writer of Hebrews stated:
“It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31
Therefore we find that it is (very much) in our best interests that mankind should prove himself a faithful steward in the matters of justice – otherwise, God will do it Himself.
When the lands of Canaan fell into overt wickedness, God gave them hundreds of years to repent before their fates were finally sealed. Note what Abba said to Abraham when discussing his inheritance:
“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.’” Gen. 15:13-16
God did not give Abraham what we would call the “instant gratification” of a physical inheritance (in his day), and this delay was indulged because of The Lord’s great love and mercy to ALL peoples. In His great forbearance He held His mighty hand back so that the original inhabitants of the Promised Land might come to know Him if they chose. This is the love and mercy of God, which extends beyond measure.
But know this – God’s system of justice will also be honored, as we saw in the account of Joshua and David. These two men were the most faithful in executing Abba’s great wrath against those very same Canaanite nations, once their fates (as nations) were finally sealed. Joshua’s orders involved destroying whole cities and “peoples” whose time come and whose judgments were set – men, women, and children. To David was given the task of “mopping up” what had been left undone when the children of Israel first moved into the land (after the death of Joshua) – which also involved destroying entire cities and peoples whose fates had been sealed.
The fact that Abba lingered for hundreds of years before finally moving against those wicked people displays the beautiful and compassionate heart of God – but never doubt that The Lord will act on behalf of His justice in the end (when He must).
When the children of Israel fell into sin, The Lord lingered for painfully long intervals until He finally had to act in the interest of His Holy Justice. It came by way of great wrath at the hands of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and (finally) the Romans. Scripture is clear that each judgment was from God – but other (even wicked) men were used as instruments to bring that justice to bear.
But does God still work this way? Is justice and wrath still a legitimate part of our lexicon?
You bet, on both counts.
Dear Ones, we now come to the seminal point. For we live in a post-atonement world wherein God’s grace is often used as a shield to excuse wicked behavior among those who claim to love The Lord (and should know better). This liberal mindset is pervasive throughout western culture, impacting our courts like a pestilence while filling our prisons with men and women who (in any other era) would have met the rope or axe long ago. These foolish theologians suggest (through their overwhelming desire to ladle sympathy upon evil-doers) that a greasy sort of grace (never sanctioned by Abba) now trumps all wrongs and accounts for all sin (even sins that are yet to be committed) – thereby remanding the “wrath of God” to the annuls of antiquity.
Justice has become a laughing-stock. A pathetic little speed-bump on the path to the best plea-bargain money can buy.
What these theologians are really suggesting is that Almighty God is controlled by His emotions – that He somehow “softened” over time and became our “Heavenly Grandpa” instead of our Heavenly Father. They suggest (by inference if not by actual word) that in a moment of exasperation The Lord God Jehovah grew tired of the whole wrath thing and sent His One and Only Son Yeshua; and in the process apparently tossed all pre-conceived notions that we are required to walk straight paths before Him.
It is a lie spat out of hell. Many are the poor saps who have made hell their eternal home by exploiting that lie and promulgating it for others. But here is the truth…
God NEVER changes.
His plan of salvation was written into the fabric of life long before the creation of the world. The plan has never been changed, nor was the tiniest morsel of the plan “made up on the fly”. Abba knew precisely what He was going to do for man’s reclamation from the moment of the fall. Then against all mathematical odds, The Lord proceeded to weave an intricate tapestry of prophesies that clearly foretold all that Yeshua would later fulfill during the days of His flesh. How then, in the light of such astonishing premeditation, can one purport that Abba made fundamental changes in His approach to sin and wickedness post-atonement? Would such an exception not be inherently unfair to everyone who lived before atonement was made (before The Great Holy Spirit was given to humanity)? Yeshua’s great sacrifice fulfilled the law and the prophets – it was not a correction to a plan that had somehow gone awry; a “plan B” indicating that God’s approach to sin and wickedness had somehow mysteriously softened.
Here’s the crushing blow that cries out to leave us without excuse. The Lord God Rhema (the Great Holy Spirit) now indwells those who come to Jesus – God Almighty is literally living inside our hearts to help us on our way. How much MORE should we be capable of doing compared to those who had to live before this astonishing gift was given? We should not be sinning more, but far less. We should be thinking MORE about justice and holiness, not less. God’s laws have now been written in our hearts – and all excuses have been removed.
The Lord is just. The same sins that sent a man to hell in Noah’s time will send us there if we die apart from the grace of God. Moreover, the same atonement that worked backward through time to set the captives free (they ascended with Jesus, according to Paul) is the same atonement that will even now free us from sin if we truly repent. God is just – His courts are just – and not a single human soul will be able to impugn His courts when we stand before Him at the end of all time.
Still not convinced that wrath and judgment have their part in post-atonement history? Consider these words from The Lord God’s own mouth – from the New Testament book, Revelation (close to the very back lid):
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars — they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Rev. 21:8
God is unchanged – His plan of Salvation is unchanged – and His justice is unchanged. Mankind is ignoring, impugning, and mocking His justice by placating evil-doers and diluting our laws to permit things that were once a stench to any good society. Our Holy Father is watching patiently for children to arise who are burning with passion for His honor and for the honor of His Heavenly Courts. I am one such person – and I know that justice is about to break forth like never before.
In the book of Revelation we are shown four riders astride horses of varying colors – each symbolizing a move of God and a time of His wrath. In closing, I’d like you to consider this one:
“When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.” Rev. 6:6
Many theologians have somehow equated this rider with famine (only) – but I would suggest to you that the symbol of the scales have always been a stalwart symbol for justice. Even in America, justice is symbolized by the very scales that are described being held by this rider.
Justice is coming – and (unchanged as it is) it won’t always be pretty when it does. Many are going to be shocked and surprised by how it manifests – and many religious minded individuals within the Body of Christ will be aghast by what they see. So be it – the balances will be set right and The Lord God’s Justice will be done. Consider Yeshua’s own words on the matter of justice (for our time) as we close:
“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:7-8
Let us determine ourselves to be faithful – let us set our jaw, roll up our sleeves, and answer our Father that Jesus will indeed find faith among us when He comes.
Even so, Lord Jesus – come.
Your brother and servant in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Mark Scott Grimmett