Tag Archives: judgment

We’re All a Bunch of Law-Breakers!

There he was. Draped over his steering wheel. Hands covering his face. Ashamed. Embarrassed. Frustrated. His co-worker sat next to him.

Behind him was the police car. Lights flashing. A police officer was obviously writing a ticket for the crime the young man had committed.

My heart went out to him. Company truck. Probably on his way to a job to support his family. And he broke the law. Mean old policeman.

Wait a minute! I don’t know what the young man did, but the cop was doing his job! Maybe the fellow ran a stop sign. Maybe he cut someone off. With six grandkids and another on the way, I’ve become much more sensitive to potential car accidents in the making.

How easy it is for us to sympathize with another law-breaker. For we are ALL law-breakers. And we need God’s grace and mercy through Christ. We sometimes need the authorities who have the power to write us a ticket to mercifully simply give us a “warning.” But it’s not something required. We don’t deserve a warning. We deserve punishment when we’ve broken the law.

Not only are we law-breakers, but we are hypocritical. Last time I saw those flashing blue lights in my rearview mirror, I thought, “Oh, no! What have I done? How much will the ticket be? How will I ever explain this to my wife?” Then my prayer life kicks in. “Lord, please let the officer just give me a warning. Please, Lord.”

Then the policeman zips past me after some other criminal and I cry out, “Get ‘em, Copper!” Mercy for me. Justice for the other guy. How about you?

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Posted by on March 4, 2018 in law-breakers


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The Spirit, the Preacher, and the Word (Part 10)

What a privilege to study the Spirit of God! We’ve seen much in these posts on His ministries to believers. Preachers are a sub-category of believers, right? So the work He does in believers He does in preachers!

Let’s look at the third area in which the Spirit proves the world wrong: the issue of JUDGMENT!

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. . . . 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”




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Posted by on December 13, 2017 in God the Holy Spirit


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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 37)

Again, no answer.  The Lord asked Jonah a question:  “Is it right for you to be angry?” (v. 4).  And he gave the Lord no answer.  Why not?  Well, it appears that Jonah had settled in for a show.  He had gone out and made himself comfortable at a place east of the city.

He made himself a shelter and, hope beyond hope, was waiting to see what would happen to the city.  He still had visions of destruction dancing in his head, wishing that God would again change His mind and bring the prophesied judgment to Nineveh.

We read that “he waited to see what would happen to the city.” (v. 5)  Why would Jonah expect God’s judgment to fall on repentant Nineveh?  ‘Cause he wanted that to happen!

We get things so mixed up, don’t we?  We ask for God’s mercy on those who don’t repent and want God’s judgment on those who do.  But God provides exactly what we need, as Jonah is soon to find out!  (to be continued)








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Posted by on September 6, 2017 in Jonah


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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 31)

The Ninevite king did not know that Jonah’s God, the real God, would forgive their sins and withhold His judgment.  But they repented anyway.  Biblical preaching involves both proclaiming God’s judgment and offering His forgiveness.  If the message preached is only forgiveness, listeners may simply yawn and think they have no repenting to do.  If the message preached is only judgment, they may fall into despair and conclude there is no hope.

Jonah needed to remember his compatriot Micah’s message in Micah 7:

18 Who is a God like you, who
    pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
    and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
    in days long ago. (Micah 7)

Micah is speaking of forgiveness for God’s covenant people, but outsiders (like the Ninevites) are invited into God’s family as early as Genesis 12 where Abraham was promised that he would be a blessing “to all nations.”

God is not willing that any should perish, as we read in 2 Peter 3:9- “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (see also Mt. 18:14).  (to be continued)






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Posted by on August 31, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 29)

The Ninevite revival was more than dust and sackcloth.  The king proclaimed to his people: “Let everyone call urgently on God.  Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.  Who knows?  God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” (vv. 8-9).

I find this challenge from the Ninevite king amazing!  He calls for a city-wide repentance marked by earnest prayers (to Jonah’s God) and behavioral change.

What is truly fascinating is that the king doesn’t know that Jonah’s God will forgive!  He says, “WHO KNOWS?  God may yet relent . . ..”  This seems to indicate that Jonah never mentioned the possibility of forgiveness, perhaps because he did not want the Ninevites forgiven.

Jonah’s orthodox statement in this chapter — “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown” — is what God wanted Jonah to say.  I wonder, however, if he said it with tears or with taunting?  With grief or with glee?  Judgment from a holy God is inevitable.  How does one prepare for that coming judgment?  Apparently Jonah had no interest in explaining to the Ninevites how God’s wrath could be averted.  (to be continued)






Posted by on August 29, 2017 in Jonah


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Jonah — Belief Contradicted by Behavior! (Part 3)

As an historical person,  Jonah receives a clear, definitive call from the Lord to go on a short-term missions trip.  God’s message was straightforward:  “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

There is a world of difference between “preaching to” and “preaching against.”  Preaching to implies communication, perhaps discussion, maybe even rational conversation.  Preaching against suggests condemnation, judgment, delivering a verdict.  The one kind of preaching might produce friends; the other kind certainly suggests opposition.

God is thoroughly aware of man’s wickedness.  He pays attention to His creation.  He is grieved by man-made-in-His-image violating His standards.  To “preach against” Nineveh’s wickedness seems one step shy of full judgment and annihilation.  Although Jonah’s message was only a few words, the fact that God is talking to them instead of simply wiping them out suggests the possibility of escape from His holy wrath.

Where might we “preach against” our culture today?  How do we become “a friend of sinners” like Jesus was and yet communicate His wrath against man’s wickedness? (to be continued)

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Posted by on August 3, 2017 in Jonah


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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord: Psalm 129

Psalm 129

A song of ascents.screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-6-55-19-am

“They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,”
    let Israel say;
“they have greatly oppressed me from my youth,
    but they have not gained the victory over me.
Plowmen have plowed my back
    and made their furrows long.
But the Lord is righteous;
    he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.”

May all who hate Zion
    be turned back in shame.
May they be like grass on the roof,
    which withers before it can grow;
a reaper cannot fill his hands with it,
    nor one who gathers fill his arms.
May those who pass by not say to them,
    “The blessing of the Lord be on you;
    we bless you in the name of the Lord.”

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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in imprecatory Psalms


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