“...For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. " - Romans 2:5-8 NLT
In the last article about "The Curse of Love with NO Balance", we talked about how God is love, but He is also Truth. Well, another characteristic we must understand about Yahweh-God is that He is love but also Just. Remember, within Him there is balance. To be a loving God, He must also be willing to reward holiness as well as punish wickedness. Now, because He is loving AND just/fair, He gives warning and time for people to turn from wickedness and a choice to live a life He finds to be pleasing. Check out how long-suffering He is:
"Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?" - Romans 2:4
So, let's talk about how through His patience He is just. God will always give a warning before destruction. He is not the "maniacal god" Richard Dawkins claims Him to be. He is not out for blood and a reckless homicidal god. He gives people chance after chance to turn away from wickedness. Remember the flood of Noah's day? Let's look at that story in greater detail just to see how just God is...
"5 The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. 6 So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. 7 And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” 8 But Noah found favor with the Lord." - Gen. 6:5-8
Here we see God's anger because of the wickedness of the people. The bible tells us that everything people thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. Can you imagine that? We live in a time where we ask ourselves, "how can someone DO that?"...yet, back then, everything people did was evil. And as King Solomon once said, "there is nothing new under the sun". Christ also tells us, that "When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day." We ask ourselves daily, how do these bad things happen, well we are closer to Christ's return than one thinks.
So what was God's solution? He wanted to wipe the human race (save Noah because he was righteous) off of the face of the earth. How? We later discover that He would bring calamity through a world wide flood. Now here is His patience:
"Noah was 600 years old when the flood covered the earth." - Genesis 7:6
Why is that significant? Well, you don't see God's patience until you look at the account given of Noah's lineage in Genesis Chapter 5.
"After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth." - Gen. 5:32
We know that Shem, Ham, and Japeth were grown men with wives by the time the flood came. And we know that they were born when Noah was about 500 years old. That means, that there was a period of at least 100 years that people had a chance to turn away from sin, including the time that Noah warned about the flood and God's wrath. ONE HUNDRED YEARS God gave people chances to get themselves right. When we really think about it, it was longer. If we look back further into Noah's lineage, you will see that Enoch was his great-grandfather. Enoch was known to be so righteous in God's eyes that he didn't even die (God's wage for sin)...God "took him". If we do the math, it is important to note that Enoch was taken only sixty-nine years before Noah was born. This means there's no doubt that Enoch, a man that walked closely in righteousness with God, spent at least THREE HUNDRED YEARS teaching God's righteousness to the wicked world. That gives people at least FOUR HUNDRED YEARS total of warning, barring there was warning from the time of Noah's birth until he was 500 years old - then there would have been more!
Remember, God always gives warnings before His judgement because He is just and fair. Another example,
"Once again a message came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. 3 When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. 4 Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. 5 They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. 6 But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’
7 “Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. 8 If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 9 But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself." - Ezekiel 33:1-9
Because God delights in justice and is fair, He sends people to warn the wicked before He exacts His judgement on them. Through His love, He charges those who know Him to tell the truth to those who are in danger of His wrath. Jonah experienced this with the people of Nineveh. They were a wicked people, and he was told by God to warn them. He thought it would be a waste of time and refused. Well, we know how that ended up - he got swallowed by a big fish and God gave him three days to stew over the mistake he made. Jonah repented and God carried out the plan for him to warn the people of Nineveh. Then an amazing thing happened - the people listened and repented! They took God's warning seriously and saved themselves from destruction by turning away from their wickedness and pleasing God. He does the same for us today through His people that know Him. Do you hear them? Are you listening?
See, love is not ignoring fault and sin, then getting mad when that sin is judged harshly. Love is to point out the fault/sin then be patient, warn, and give people a chance to change - just as He does. So, we must not mistake His supposed "silence" for a weakness - He is being patient. And we must not accuse Him of being harsh when He exacts justice on those who are wicked for He has given chance after chance for them to get right with Him.
"Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created....8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment." - 2 Peter 3:3-4,8-10
We serve the loving yet just God, Yahweh. Despite what people say or think about Him, He does not take pleasure in destruction. He wants us all to no longer be His enemy, but choose right living in accordance to how He sees fit. He is giving us a chance daily to choose right. I highly suggest that you take a little time to read Romans Chapter 2. Think about those words of yesteryear and apply them to today. I read this to my children for bible study today as it is written, then again using the words "believer/Christian" for Jew and "unbeliever" for Gentiles. The message is clear. We are in a time of warning before destruction. Will you take God up on His just and loving nature and turn from evil and do what is right?