God’s Judgements Do Continue Up To That Final Judgement (Part Three)

April 28, 2015

Friend,
In looking at the context of Rom. 1:16-19, which you quoted, certainly verse 20 should have been included, as this continues the thought / the point –which is, what may be known about God (v. 19) has always been made plain (to mankind) by God. (v. 20 // see also 10:18 and Ps. 19:1-6) Thus Scripture informs us that revelation about God comes through creation (by seeing, experiencing, and knowing things about it and the order of things –moral, physical, etc.), as well as through that “instinctive” knowledge of God which He has placed (created) into every person (same verses // Rom. 1:21,28, & 2:14,15,26,27), but which many suppress because they love sin. (1:18 // John 3:19-21)

You ask how the wrath of God is revealed from heaven and then quote Rom. 16:25,26. These verses are not focusing on God’s wrath (God’s wrath which many in the ancient world were already aware of, though many considered it the wrath of plural gods), but are focusing on Jesus and the salvation that comes through Him –a mystery “now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings”, or “…through the Scriptures of the prophets.” (v. 26) In other words, through the Old Testament; and though these were the Scriptures Jesus regarded as the words and revelations of God Himself, it seems you consider them as inferior to the New.

Paul mentions the mystery also in 1 Cor. 2:6-10, calling it “God’s secret wisdom” (v. 7) –“a wisdom that has been hidden” (same verse), for had the rulers understood it they would not have crucified the Lord. (v. 8 ) Yet God has revealed this mystery, and all that goes with it, to us by His Spirit, even giving us the mind of Christ. (v. 9-16) He has done so for the children (the humble), yet hides spiritual truths from the wise and learned. (Luke 10:21) Therefore, of those who teach by the Spirit, Jesus says, “He who listens to you listens to Me; he who rejects you [namely, your message] rejects Me.” (v. 16) You and I are saying (teaching) very opposite things, and so we must understand that we could not both be teaching by the Spirit of God. Let us remember that Satan himself quotes Scripture –sometimes stupidly, sometimes cunningly, when trying to get his lies across. (Example: Mt. 4:6) And of course false teachers do the same (1 Tim. 4:1) as they distort the Scriptures to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16)

You say, “The main way a revelation is made manifest to all nations is through the scriptures which come from heaven.” However, though the revelation of Christ’s work is known through the Scriptures, not every revelation about God and His requirements is given solely that way. Scripture informs us that such insight comes through the “voice” of creation (Ps. 19:1-6 // Rom. 1:19,20 & 10:18), through conscience (Rom. 2:14,15), and through the Lord’s judgements upon various inhabitants of the earth. (Ps. 58:9-11 // Isa. 26:9 // 1 Cor. 10:1-12 & 11:27-34) So although I continually uphold God’s Word as of vital importance, I realize that there is one other priority a follower of Christ needs. It is the Spirit. We must have the Spirit of God and Christ, whom we possess by being “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8) and led and controlled by the Spirit (Rom. 8:,9,14 // Gal. 5:18,25) –He who leads us into all Truth. (John 16:13) To heed the Spirit and the Word is what it means in John 10:27 to follow the Lord’s voice. For the Scriptures studied, quoted, and used apart from the Spirit do not bring Life. (5:39,40)

You continue to speak about God’s Future Final Judgement and how God’s Word repeatedly warns us about it. Of course this Judgement is to be our main concern, for it is the Last Judgement, the final and irrevocable one. Earthly judgements are part of God’s goodness (His goodness which entails His justice, as well as His patience, kindness, etc.), for it is due to His goodness that He warns us, disciplines us, and punishes us, and this so that we will repent. If we do not repent of deliberate sin, strive hard after holy conduct, and abide faithfully, we will be disqualified (John 15:1-10 // 1 Cor. 9:24-27) and condemned to Hell along with the godless. (Mt. 5:29,30 & 24:45-51 // 1 Cor. 11:32 // Heb. 10:26-31) God’s goodness (and God is always good) comes from His love, His justice, His righteous anger, and His instructions, comforts, warnings, and rebukes. Thus God punishes those who keep sinning (Heb. 12:6b), as well as gives training and discipline and times of testing to mature us and to see if we are faithful / to see if our faith is genuine. (Luke 8:13,15 // Acts 14:22 // Heb. ch. 12 // Ja. 1:2-4 // 1 Peter 1:6,7)

Again, as I said, God does not change. (Mal. 3:6 // Heb. 13:8 // Ja. 1:17) This means that His attributes (such as His justice, love, holiness, power, etc.) do not change. Regarding the way of the New Covenant: It applies only for those who have come into it by way of being born of the Spirit. Otherwise, one’s master is the law (which lacks power, and because of sin, brings death –Rom. 7:9-12). Therefore if someone does not “serve in the new way of the Spirit” (v. 6), then he actually remains captive to sin, which means to be under its slavery and its curse (ch. 6) and thus under God’s wrath. (John 3:36 // 2 Peter 2:9) For “God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient” (Eph. 5:6) no matter what they claim. (Titus 1:16)

Consequently, the wonderful promises of verses such as John 1:29 (which says that Jesus takes away the sin of the world) have not been applied to those who refuse the Promise (the Truth / the Power) of the Spirit by which to walk in a state of continual purification. (Gal. 5:18 // 1 Peter 1:22 // 2 Peter 1:3,4 // 1 John 1:7) Why? –Because they have rejected the Savior. “Everyone who sins breaks the law of God” (1 John 3:4), and God, therefore, retains the right to judge, whenever and however He wants, the “lawless person” (see same verse) because that person remains a participant of the devil (v. 8 ) and demons (1 Cor. 10:20-22) –that dark kingdom (Col. 1:13) and realm of death that is under God’s wrath. (John 3:36 // Rom. 6:16,23 // Eph. 2:1-3 // 1 John 3:10-15)

I am grieved that you cannot see the error of what you keep saying about how the Lord’s accomplishment on the cross necessitates the negation of the fact that “the LORD [still] exercises justice on the earth”. (See Jer. 9:24) Also, your insinuation that my teaching is diminishing the power of the blood of Christ reminds me of how Calvinists also insist that Jesus had to have died only for the elect because otherwise it would have to be said that His payment wasn’t strong enough to save everyone, since everyone isn’t saved. Furthermore, you suggest that not always knowing whether a disaster is straight from God or from natural causes or consequences is to operate in “confusion (of which God is not the author).” This “confusion” verse you quote is 1 Cor. 14:33, but if we go to it, we see that its context is about there needing to be order among speakers during church meetings. Thus the versions that use “disorder” or “dissension” instead of “confusion” are the better translations. Regardless, Scripture reminds us that God, His ways, and His dealings are too immense for our limited (partial / finite) understanding (Job 36:26 // Ps. 145:3 & 147:5 // 1 Cor. 13:9,12), and that we have available to us all we need in order to trust Him, follow Him, and know Him.

More than once you’ve mentioned 1 John 2:2. However, using this to teach that God no longer exercises His dealings of justice (wrath, punishments, and rewards) is an incorrect usage of the verse. This verse instead is about the payment Jesus made, informing us that it was adequate to pay for the sins of the whole world. It is saying that He did, in fact, pay the ransom for the whole world. However, as we know from other Scripture verses, the whole world does not come under God’s favor automatically. Nowhere does the Word teach that they do, except that they have all graciously been given physical life, the gift of free choice, an orderly, functioning, and beautiful earth to live in, and the offer of salvation –that union with Christ through which the special (present and eternal) favor comes. However, each individual must accept Christ’s payment as applicable to oneself, applying it through one’s belief, repentance, and submission to Christ as Savior –and as Lord.

1 John 2:2 is saying just what verses such as 1 Tim. 2:6 is saying: That Jesus “gave Himself as a ransom for all men.” Jesus paid the ransom for the world of men –in full. Everybody’s sin was paid for. The debt was cancelled. (Mt. 18:27) However, for those who refuse the Truth, cling to sin, reject the pardon, and/or commit injustice against their fellowman, the debt is reinstated toward that individual. (Mt. 18:32-35 // John 3:36 // Heb. 10:26-31) The Light is available for all, but many refuse to come into it. (John 3:19-21) It seems that you are saying that God’s wrath against everyone has been appeased. This just is not so. Because only through repentance from sin, submission to the King, and belief in the fully-paid-pardon can the appeasement be applied individually. And of course everyone must remain faithful –must remain in the Light, the Truth, the Love, the Pardon, the Spirit’s control. (John 15:1-10 // Rom. 8:9 // 1 John 1:5-7)

True belief, true repentance, and true submission (which adds up to true faith) all has to do with obedience. Obedience is what brings about holiness (being righteous before God) and what incurs eternal life. (Rom. 1:5 & 3:21,22 & 6:16,22 & 8:3,4 // Heb. 5:9 & 12:14) Jesus’ ransom enables us to walk in freedom from sin (Rom. ch. 6-8 // Gal. 5:24), and we are certainly expected to walk this way. (Rom. 6:1,2 & 8:9,14 // Gal. 5:25) If we rebel and keep rebelling, we backslide out from Christ’s love (John 10:6,10) and are no longer abiding in Christ –thus not covered by God’s favor. (John 15:1-10 // Rom. 8:12,13 // 1 Cor. 3:16,17 // Heb. 10:26-31 & 12:14-17 // 2 Peter 2:20-22 & 3:17)

You say, “Through the blood of Christ the world is in a state of peace or favor (as announced by the angels on the day of Jesus’ birth) until a specified “day of wrath” to come.” However, I again insist that God’s Word teaches that this peace (favor / pardon / treaty / fellowship / unity) –which is between God and man (Rom. 5:1,2 // Eph. 2:12-18) as well as between others who are in right fellowship with the Lord (1 John 1:7)– is a reality only for those who have come into union with Christ and remain there through obedience to Him. The peace does not blanket the world’s inhabitants who remain in the kingdom of darkness. Instead such people are at enmity with God, His law, His saints, and His Gospel. (Rom. 8:7,8 // Phil. 3:18) There is no peace for them. (Isa. 57:20,21 // Rom. 3:17) The wrath of God remains (present tense) on everyone unless, or until, they unify with Christ. (John 3:36 // Rom. 1:18-32 & 2:8,9 // Eph. 2:3-5 // 1 Thes. 2:16 // Rev. 2:20-23) –which comes only through continued, faithful obedience. (Heb. 10:26,27 // 1 John 3:24) Being one in spirit with Christ (1 Cor. 6:17) is what it means to be “in Christ” (Rom. 8:1) and controlled by His Spirit. (v. 9) Only then is a person not under condemnation from God. (v. 1)

The world as a whole is most assuredly not in a state of favor with God, nor in a state of peace, nor have their sins been taken away. We know that “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8), but at present, until Jesus comes again bodily and sets up His rule from Jerusalem, the devil’s work (and thus God’s wrath) is still going on in the earth, only wiped away for those who are unified with Christ through “the obedience which comes through faith”. (Rom. 1:5 & 16:26) Jesus says He came not to bring peace, but a sword. (Mt. 10:34) Not “peace on earth… but division.” (Luke 12:51) This is because most in the world, by their own choice, cling to the devil’s kingdom, thus causing the battle between good and evil to go on in this present age. God is the Victor, but the majority of people, because they are not in union with Him, are still abiding in chaos, not peace.

No, 2 Peter ch. 2 does not speak only about the Final Judgement, but uses past earthly judgements as warnings to us of potential earthly (and eternal) judgement. Verse one makes this clear as it refers to those (after the cross) who will teach heresies and thus bring swift destruction on themselves. 1 Cor. 10:1-14 tells us that past (earthly) judgements are “warnings for us” (v. 11), cautioning us to be careful and not fall. (v. 12) Fall to what? To temptation (v. 13) and sins of idolatry (v. 7,14), grumbling (v. 10), testing God (v. 9), sexual immorality (v. 8 ), and sins of the heart (v. 6) –because we, like they, could fall under God’s earthly judgements (v. 8-10) of displeasure. (v. 5) This is why James 5:9 warns “brothers”, meaning believers in Christ, that if we grumble against each other, we will be judged by The Judge.

Jesus teaches us in Luke 13:7 that if He sees someone not producing that for which He planted them, He will give the command to have it cut down. This is a judgement, though He will be patient for a time to see if there is repentance. (v. 8 ) If not, the Father “cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit.” (John 15:2) Such branches are thrown away, they thus wither, and they are therefore thrown to the fire. (v. 6) The earthly judgement happens first, then the Final. The one/s for this present age, and the one for eternity. (2 Peter 2:9 // Jude 1:5-7)

Some more references teaching God’s earthly judgements of wrath: Jesus taught that everyone who is greedy can incur from God a judgement of an early death. (Luke 12:20,21) Jesus showed wrath when He made a whip of cords, overturned the money changers tables, and drove them out of the temple area with scathing rebukes. (John 2:13-17) Jesus predicted God’s judgment (via armies) against that present generation of Jerusalem because they had refused their Peace / their Messiah. (Luke 11:50,51 & 19:41-44) Jesus called that specific coming judgement “the time of punishment” (21:22) and a time of “great distress in the land and wrath against this people.” (v. 23) The reference was to God’s wrath against the Jews in fulfillment of the prophets’ continuous warnings over the centuries (v. 22), having warned them of their nation’s destruction and dispersion to other nations (v. 24) –“until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (same verse) The Jews received this punishment in full after the cross.

I wish you would have addressed more of the references I mentioned, including Pr. 3:33-35 where it says, “The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked…”, as well as Ja. 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 which both say, “God opposes the proud”, and explained how these could not mean God’s punishing judgements (pronouncements / declarations / renderings) on earth. Also verses such as 1 Peter 4:17, 1 Thes. 2:16, 2 Thes. 2:11, and Rev. 2:5,16,21-23 lacked your explanation as to how it is at all possible that these are not speaking of God’s earthly punishments / judgements. The New Testament (not to mention the Old) refers often to God’s earthly judgements (punishments / rewards / applications of justice), either directly or indirectly, another one of those references being 1 Peter 3:7 which commands husbands to treat their wives with considerateness and respect “so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” It could be nothing other than God’s decreed punishment toward a man (–a praying man) that would cause the man’s prayers to be hindered (obstructed and possibly fully rejected) by God.

1 Cor. 11:32 can refer to nothing other than God’s earthly judgement against a person who claims Christ when it says, “When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.” You want to split hairs about words, yet the words about the Lord’s “judgement” and “discipline” and “punishment” are often used interchangeably, as shown here, as well as in Heb. 12:6. Heb. 10:38,39 warns us that if a righteous person shrinks back (with a lack of faith, which also includes a lack of obedience –Rom. 1:5 & 16:26), he will be destroyed. 1 Cor. 3:16,17 warns us about God’s pronouncement of destruction against a temple of the Spirit who would defile himself, and verse 19 quotes Job 5:13 when it says, “As it is written: ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness.'” This is just another one of those numerous places where the New Testament derives its doctrine from the Old Testament in order to teach us the Truth / God’s doctrine.

Another example of this is 1 Peter 3:10-12 which quotes Ps. 34:12-16, these passages informing us that those who do evil will not see good days because God opposes (confronts / thwarts / is hostile toward) them. This is about God’s judgements of punishment on earth. An example also is found in 1 Cor. ch. 5 when we are told that “God will judge those outside [the church]” (v. 13) while we are to judge (though only by His Spirit –John 7:24 and Ja. 4:12)) those inside the church who commit wickedness. We do so by expelling them from our midst (1 Cor. 5:13 quotes Deuteronomy) and handing them over to Satan who God often uses, as He does with governing authorities, as His agent of wrath. (v. 4,5 // Rom. 13:4 // 1 Tim. 1:19,20) Clearly these judgements are to be executed on earth.

Well, you and I have both stated our views at length and now I no longer wish to continue this discussion, for the Lord has prodded me to confront you in order to warn you, not so that I could join with you in a pursuit to win an argument. I find it very disturbing that because of the cross you do not hold the Old Testament up as profitable for doctrine, though 2 Tim. 3:16 tells us that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine. I have tried to convince you, as gently but strongly as I’ve known how, that you are in great error about God and His Word concerning this subject, and that your public accusation directed against those who believe differently than you on this issue –that they are blasphemers– is not a small sin before God. Our words of doctrine are to be “the very words of God” (1 Peter 4:11) and they are to be said by His Spirit. However, if we do the opposite, then we are slanderers against God, His Word, and His followers, and slanderers are listed right in there with the rest of the wicked and deceived who will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9,10)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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