The God of Righteous Judgment
Those who think that the God of the Old Testament is wrathful and judging and the God of the New Testament is all forgiveness, kindness, patience, sweetness and universal salvation for everybody—regardless of their commitment to Jesus Christ—had better reread several large portions of the last twenty-seven books of the Bible. If they read a bit more carefully, they’ll find out that He is also a God of judgment. Those who rebel against Him and set their heart against Him will one day have to face a day of terrible judgment. And who will be able to stand?
The New Testament frequently speaks of the wrath of God. Listen to Paul: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). The apostle then further describes the coming judgment of God.
The writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? … For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people” (Hebrews 2:1-3, 10:30).
Jesus Christ demonstrated grace and truth, but to those who reject that grace and truth there remains: “A certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? … It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God … For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 10:27-29, 31; 12:29).
Remember, that wasn’t the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah thundering out fearful threats! That was the New Testament writer of the book of Hebrews, declaring the judgment of God that shall come upon those who reject His grace and mercy through Jesus Christ.
The final book of the New Testament, Revelation, fixes an almost blinding spotlight on the wrath and justice of God. It predicts the response of ungodly men caught in the crosshairs of God’s judgment: “And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!’ For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17).
Oh yes, God is a God of love. He is longsuffering, full of compassion, merciful, gracious and patient. Thank God for that! But He is also a God of righteous judgment and unblinking holiness. He is both. And He always has been.
– excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith