Love and the Perfect Judge

21 Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies,
the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.
22 The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan;
I will bring them from the depths of the sea,
23 that your feet may wade in the blood of your foes,
while the tongues of your dogs have their share.” Psalm 68:21

The Psalmist is pretty graphic about the demise of the wicked. He doesn’t sugar coat their ultimate destiny. And neither should we.

The Bible is pretty clear about what will happen to those who refuse to believe in Christ: death and destruction, an eternity with God. Now some may disagree about the degrees of that punishment, but it’s not a question that the punishment will be meted out.

Unfortunately we as a church culture have gotten away from the words of that old hymn, “Rescue the Perishing, Care for the Dying, Jesus is merciful; Jesus will save.” We’ve replaced it with a Gospel that is barely recognizable. Sure, the lattes and donuts are in the foyer before and after the service, but what will the congregation hear today? I know it’s been a long time since I heard a “hellfire and brimstone” sermon that truly made me squirm and feel the flames. I suspect I’m not alone.

I’m afraid the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. There used to be a time that every tenth sermon was about the destiny of the lost. Now it’s preached perhaps one out of 200-300 messages, and even then there’s a lot of qualifiers and softening of the language to make it more “palatable” for the parishioners.

True, the Gospel message is contained in John 3:16. It’s a verse to stand your ground on. But there’s a corollary to that verse, namely verses 17-18.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Yes, Jesus is love. But He’s also a perfect judge.

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