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We too often have a simplistic understanding of sin and judgment. This understanding is true as far as it goes, and is consistent with the teaching of Scripture that a man reaps what he sows. But Scripture also encourages us to think past this point. It is also true that a man reaps while he sows. Our tendency is to think that if we do thus and such, then at some future date we will receive a recompense. This is true. The Bible teaches that every idle word will be considered in the judgment. It is appointed to man once to die, and after this the judgment for deeds done in the body, whether good or evil.

But the Bible teaches in numerous ways that sin itself is a judgment. In the book of Romans, Paul tells us that the wrath of God is visited upon men by God giving men up (Rom. 1:18, 24). When He gives them up to their lusts, they run headlong into more sin, and this blind state not only incurs more judgment, it has to be considered a judgment in itself.

Another example can be seen in the book of Proverbs. “The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit; he who is abhorred of the LORD will fall there” (22:14). The sexually promiscuous think that in their behavior they are escaping from God and His standards at just the moment when they are falling under His judgment. In a frenzy of unbelief, a man leaps off a high cliff—with God’s intention for him seen in the rocks below. But for a short while the man thinks he is flying.

This has general cultural ramifications. Many conservative Christians who are concerned about the state of our nation are fearful of judgment in the simpler sense. They believe that if we do not turn from the course we are on, at some future date we will fall under the judgment of God. Almost no one sees that we already have fallen under His judgment.

There are countless examples of this. Consider for a moment the abortion carnage. We think abortion on demand will cause God to visit us with some horrible judgment. But we should see the carnage itself as a blow from the hand of God. In the abstract, if someone were to tell us about a nation that executes a 1.5 million babies a year, legally, the conclusion ought to be that it is the result of God’s anger. What did this nation do that He would visit this horror upon it? Of course, more judgment is to come, but judgment has already begun.

We should begin to confess the sins for which these things are the judgment.

Questions about women in combat are raised, and no one in the church knows how to answer them. This is because we have been judicially blinded. If a wise man were to get the floor in Congress, his statements would make everyone laugh out loud. Unfortunately, the same response would be likely at more than one denominational conference.

Not only can sodomy be publicly celebrated, but we have mechanisms of discipline in place for any who object. To protest such things is to be guilty of some kind of “hate crime.” And things are no better among heterosexuals. Many men among us have pursued strange women. Why? Because God detested them. And as this has become the norm for us culturally, we have to say that God detests that, too. The free-love revolution of the ‘60s was a judgment from God, not just fodder for future judgments. What were we doing that brought this upon us?

Instead of seeking to persuade others that we should confess these sins lest God respond in judgment, we in the church should begin to confess the sins for which these things are the judgment. This is hard for us because, when we think back to the time before this cultural meltdown began, we do not see a self-satisfied complacency that angered God. Rather, we see a paradise of traditional values. Conservatives like to look back at that golden age, before the Beatles came to America, when June Cleaver vacuumed while wearing pearls. We want to think that we had it good back then, but we threw it all away.

Actually, we were in high rebellion against God back then. This means that in the judgments that have befallen us, God is stripping away our illusions. And about the only people today who are seeking to retain the old illusions are Christians. More than a few Christians are urging us to get away from the judgments—and back to the sin. The prophet Jeremiah warned about the sin of healing the wound lightly, crying peace where there is none. But this is what we in fact do.

In the church, we have not worshiped God as we should have. We have not let His Word settle what we believe and do. We have submitted to a false teaching that says salt doesn’t really have to make anything salty and light does not have to actually illumine. We have maintained, as a point of doctrinal principle, that salt exists to be trampled upon by men. And this in its turn is a chastisement of God upon the church. Faced with the spiritual poverty of the modern evangelical church, we still love to have it so.

The Wrath of Almighty God

A Window on God’s Heart

Keep Reading Righteous Wrath: The Wrath of God

From the February 2002 Issue
Feb 2002 Issue