The Good News of Jesus Christ

Category: Goodness Page 1 of 2

Mercy Desired

These questions point us to how God wants us to see justice, judgment, and mercy. Of course, justice and judgment are important to God. Still, mercy is important, if not most important. But how is mercy, perhaps, more important than justice or judgment? Well, of the control we have on events, we have control of mercy. In contrast, justice and judgment are prohibited and left to God. For instance, Scripture says, “judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). This statement stresses that we are not to judge; correct and precise judgment will happen when Jesus Christ returns. Such judgment is impossible through us.

Forbearance as Good

Justice

But how is God’s forbearance good? If God forbears, he must refrain from something. Is judgment what God refrains from, if the sinner does not die immediately? Yes, God refrains from judgment. But what is judgment? This question is answered by a couple negative questions from Jesus. Negative questions, here, means questions asked that have a negative answer. For instance, Jesus asks, “Will not God give justice to his elect, who cries to him day and night? Will he delay long over them (Luke 18:7)? “But,” as the apostle Peter adds, “by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” Thus, judgment is justice for evil and righteous people.

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