Right now, I’m reading through the Old Testament prophets. In these pages God, the Righteous Judge, lifted up and tore down kingdoms to accomplish his divine plan. He punished those who turned their lives against him, and blessed those who turned their lives toward him.
God was not to blame for handing down his judgement upon his people then, and he isn’t to blame for handing down his judgement now.
In one of Billy Graham’s devotions in his devotional, Hope for Each Day, Rev. Graham asks who’s to blame; the judge for sentencing the criminal, or the criminal for committing the crime? He goes on to ask if someone deliberately commits a crime and is caught, is the judge to blame for sentencing the criminal, or is the criminal to blame for the sentence he receives?
Yes. The judge is the one who hands down the sentence, but he did so by following the law. The judge is not the one who broke the law.
At the time of the Old Testament prophets, the Israelites worshiped multiple gods, made altars and sacrificed to those gods. Sometimes, they even offered their children as burnt sacrifices. They turned their back on the One True Living God and worshiped idols made by man. They still wanted and expected God’s blessing, but they wanted to do whatever they pleased while receiving it.
Time and time again, God sent warnings to his people. He gave them opportunity after opportunity to repent, get rid of the things in their lives that displeased God, and be restored to a relationship with him. But they refused.
God, The Righteous Judge, sent his rebellious people into captivity. He never stopped loving them, but there were consequences for their actions. His plan all along was to restore them to a relationship with himself, but it would be on his terms.
Like an earthly judge, God hands down the sentence and consequences we, the criminals, deserve. As in Billy Graham’s example, when we break God’s laws, we can’t blame God for the punishment we receive. It’s our fault we sinned, not God’s.
But thanks be to God, when we belong to Jesus and claim him as our Lord and Savior, we don’t have to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus took our debt upon his perfect sinless self and paid the debt we owed, but could never pay. He paid our sin-debt with his blood sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.
We deserve the punishment, but the Righteous Judge made a way for us to be spared when he didn’t spare his own son.
God loved the world so much he sent his only son to this world to die a horrible death for us. As the Righteous Judge, God is not to blame if we don’t accept his perfect gift.
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For God did not send His Son into the world to say it is guilty. He sent His Son so the world might be saved from the punishment of sin by Him. John 3:17 (NLV)
You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.
I wish you well.
“We deserve the punishment, but the Righteous Judge made a way for us to be spared when he didn’t spare his own son.” Amen and Amen!
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Kathy, sometimes I think we become callous and forget what it actually cost God and Jesus to save us. I am so grateful.
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