The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Psalm 11:4-5
I recently asked two of my Bible study groups: “Does God love everyone?” The response was a universal “Yes.” I was stunned. Is that what God’s Word teaches? God is a Holy, Just, and Righteous Being. He cannot tolerate sin. God calls all of His creations to repentance. When Jesus began His ministry, He came with one simple message: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17). When rebels refuse, He punishes them with death. If one believes that God loves everyone, then there is no acknowledgement of His wrath against sin, and there is no need to fear Him. Then everyone will do what “is right in his own eyes.” We see that on our expressways. Almost no one obeys the posted speed limits. We see it when young people choose to co-habit without the benefit of marriage. We see it in the crime sprees in cities like Chicago. We see it in states granting rights for “recreational marijuana,” even when federal laws prohibit it. We see it in our “sanctuary cities,” defying federal authority. We see it in the “Black lives matter” movement. We see it in the Women’s Marches for abortion rights. We see it in our schools where children no longer respect and obey their teachers. We see it in the wholesale desecration of the Sabbath. We hear it in the vulgar language in our movies. We see it in our cities when violent protesters destroy property and assault policemen. We are rapidly approaching wholesale anarchy! We are becoming more and more violent and more and more demanding of our “rights.” We want to be law–makers, and refuse to be law-abiders.
One reason why the wrath of God is being ignored in Western society is because the United States, Canada, and most European countries have become secular nations. In the United States Supreme Court the Everson Case (1947) officially established a “wall of separation’” between church and state.” This is an incredibly flawed decision, but it has become the law of the land. The net effect of trying to create a barrier or wall between the church and the state is to exclude the Law of God from all judicial decisions and from all public policy. In rapid succession, the courts banned prayer, Bible reading, sacred songs, and religious exercises from our nation’s public schools.
In 1973 the Supreme Court ruled that women have the right to murder the infants growing in their wombs, claiming, somehow, that the United States Constitution granted them this right under the guise of privacy. In spite of challenges from numerous quarters, the “right” to abortion has become the law of the land. Euphemistically, its defenders dub that “pro-choice.” The Bible calls it murder. God condemns murder. More recently, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that every state in the union has to license and approve same-sex marriages. That decision made no reference to the Law of God, which clearly and repeatedly condemns homosexual behavior. When one eliminates the Law of God from all public discourse, a huge vacuum is created. Lawlessness fills that Vacuum.
Where there is no law, there is no sin. Where there is no sin, there is no need to focus on the wrath of God. When the Law of God is excluded, the people make up their own laws and pretend to take the place of God. Where there is no sin, there is no need for a Savior.
Jesus began His public ministry with a call for repentance. He shows tremendous love and compassion for people, but He also confronts the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees with stinging criticisms, leveling accusations at them that make them plan an early death for Him. True to His double-sided mission, Jesus Christ proclaims liberty to the captives, eternal life to those who believe in Him, but also death to those who refuse Him. That classic passage from John 3:16 proclaims salvation to all those who believe in Him, but it goes on to add, “Whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
Jesus Christ, as prophet, priest, and king has multiple assignments and multiple messages. As prophet, He is expressing the very mind and words of God Himself. He speaks God’s mind. As priest, He comes to offer the ultimate sacrifice for sin, His own body. He willingly, voluntarily, goes to Jerusalem at the appointed time, to offer Himself as the Lamb to be slain. He offers to pay the price necessary to satisfy the wrath of God. As king, He is given all authority to rule and to govern the world. He has the power of the sword, the power to punish those who break God’s laws. He will not condone sin! We would be wise if we learned to fear Him!
Dr. De Jong, is a retired pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. As a graduate of Calvin and a former professor at Dordt and Trinity Christian Colleges he is widely known throughout America.
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