judgment day

i have been accused a few times of not taking sin seriously, of not taking seriously the belief that our God is a just God.

sadly there is a large proportion of christians who have an image in their head which is more akin to the norse god thor (beardy man with a lightning bolt, ready to smite), than the christian God revealed in jesus.

no wonder any refutation of this kind of response to sin (the 'smite you with lightning' kind) is seen as a direct denial of any kind of judgment and therefore a denial that sin is really anything to worry about.

the irony here is that actually i take sin very seriously. i believe that it is so deeply a problem in the whole of creation that an individualistic understanding of sin is relatively shallow in comparison. sin is deeply embedded in our selves, our structures, our institutions, our creation. it is prevalent in our violent behaviour towards one another, our exclusion of those who we consider 'other', however that 'otherness' might express itself. it needs something radical to break its power.

it needs the cross.

it does not need thor, with his lightning bolt.

the cross brings salvation from the consequences of sin, it breaks the power of violence and says that the kingdom of God triumphs. it is an invitation to partner with God in building his kingdom, here on earth.

isaiah 35 says this:

here is your God. he will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. he will come and save you.

God's judgment is salvation. it is only by God's judgment that there will be salvation in all of creation. the next few verses in isaiah 35 speak of blind eyes being opened, the deaf being able to hear, the lame leaping like deer and more. God's judgment is the bringing of God's justice, by which the kingdom of God is proclaimed and built.

more often than not we treat God's judgment as something to be avoided at all costs. we think that becoming a christian is our insurance policy through which we circumnavigate judgment. but scripture tells us that it is something entirely different.

God's judgment is our salvation.

brian mclaren says something similar here:

1 comment:

MattS said...

Hello Jody,

I agree with you that God's judgment is good news, firstly for his people but also for the whole creation, because it reveals his justice. It is therefore integrally related to salvation. (The coming of God's kingdom is the coming of justice)

However, the bible seems to teach that for some it is very bad news. Let's take Satan as the first example. I think that is also clearly a part of the biblical testimony on this. I think the problem comes when God's judgement is divorced from his justice.