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The Judge of All the Earth

June 12th, 2014

Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Genesis 18:25

Here is where the heart of faith begins in understanding judgment and punishment for sin. God is entirely just and it is unthinkable that He would do anything in contradiction to His nature. There is tremendous comfort in these words and we see how this truth served as a foundational reality for Abraham as he petitioned God to deliver the good people of Sodom.

The setting was this: God was going to judge Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin. He had demonstrated patience, had even led Abraham to rescue the city from its enemies, but what should have brought them to repentance was ignored, and they went right on their way in immorality. Abraham prayed, trying to understand the mind and appeal to the nature of God. His prayer was offered in the utmost humility but he also plead for the city, for he knew righteous people still lived there as well. God said that if ten righteous people were there, that He would spare the city. As the story unfolds it appears to have been only four – Lot, his wife, and their two daughters – and even their character was in question. They were delivered and the cities were destroyed.

How could we pray if we did not have this assurance of God’s righteousness? How could we address Him with confidence if we doubted His heart? How could we leave matters into His hands if they were impure? But this truth invites us to pray and to appeal to Him, to do so humbly for often our hearts are impure, often our desires are to selfish, our perspective too limited, and our goals too worldly.

The world does not revolve around our prayers, and though we are invited to pray, and even commanded to pray – “You have not because you ask not!” (James 4:2) – we are at best reactionary creatures. God holds it all together and works His plans across generations. We share briefly and slightly in His eternal work, and join Him in small ways as He performs His great projects of grace. So let us be clear, that our hope rests upon a pro-active God who is just and righteous, as well as loving and gracious.

Paul used this logic in Romans 3:5-6, paraphrasing Abraham, and it was upon this logic the doctrine of the grace of God in Christ rested. God is just in His condemnations and out of justice, as well as love, Christ paid the price of our sins. Sin was not ignored, rather it was atoned for. This is why the ancient ways of worship always involved a sacrifice, and why we when we worship today magnify the cross of Christ, that there our sins were paid for. This is why we come before Him humbly, pleading our guilt and receiving His grace. And it is why we have peace in God’s dealings with humanity, that He will be just.

Let this truth comfort you and guide you in your prayers. No one need fear that in the end God will not understand, will overlook key information in His judgment and assessments of life. God is just and will be just. And in that justice is also found His complete trustworthiness to fulfill His promises. As John wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (John 1:9).

Gleanings from Genesis , ,