Is God Judgmental? (4 of 4)

intolerance 8

(Continued from yesterday)

The first reason God can’t lower His standard and accept sin is it doesn’t work. The second reason is that not only will it not work, it actually can’t be done. I’ll use light as an illustration. Darkness is the absence of light. They are opposites. When a light is lit, darkness flees. Even thought it may come from a small candle, no darkness has ever overcome lighter. Never has, never will.

Jn 1:5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overcome) it.
• 2 Co 6:14 for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
• 1 Jn 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. His very nature as light makes accommodation to darkness impossible. They are mutually exclusive. Just as light cannot have fellowship with darkness, so our righteous God cannot have partnership with lawlessness i.e. sin. It cannot be done.

Often people who focus on “God is love” forgot that “God is just” too. Both are His attributes, among others. So although God is love and abundant in loving-kindness and forgives iniquity, He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished because He is just. The two go together because He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13):

Ex 34:7 who keeps loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, …
• Num 14:18 ‘The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, …
• Nahum 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. …

Let me close by summing up what we discussed. God is not judgmental because He is absolutely just and knows everything. He loves the people He created and gave them fair and reasonable requirements to establish a loving relationship, but they disobeyed and sinned. Because He is just He cannot and will not accept sin, and must punish the guilty. But because He is love He took the penalty upon Himself. All we have to do is to forgo trying to make it on our own, and put our faith in Christ who died for us. Unwilling to do so and still trusting in themselves, some turned the attack on God by labeling Him judgmental and intolerant. That, in essence, is the heart of the matter. It does not have to happen this way. Repent and believe in the God who loved you enough to die for you. then you’ll understand how gracious and merciful He is. Judgmental? Look into the mirror. Don’t go there. For your sake.

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Is God Judgmental? (3 of 4)

God intolerant 1

(Continued from yesterday)

Yesterday we saw that God’s people did not keep their covenant with God. Did He in His wrath strike them down right away? No, He was slow to anger and forbearing, giving people time to repent so they won’t perish:

Neh 9:17 They refused to listen, And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness; And You did not forsake them. (Also Ex 34:6; Ps 103:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2)
• Rom 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
• 2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

But if He is so gracious and compassionate and abounding in loving-kindness, why can’t He lower His standards and just forgive people as they are? He can’t, for two reasons. First, it won’t work. Sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4), any deviation from God’s law. Let me use cancer as an analogy. Cancer cells are cells that grow and divide at an unregulated, quick pace. They are a deviation from normality, just like sin. If you have cancer, you would want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Now how much cancer cells would you tolerate to remain in your body without removing them by surgery, or killing them by radiation or chemotherapy? 10%? 5%? 1%? No, you want them completely eliminated, or you die.

The so-called “tolerant” believe that God is love and should cut people some slack. They think if God didn’t set the bar so high, they would make it on their own. Actually they have too high a view of themselves, and too low a view of God. For the sake of argument let’s just say God concedes to their request. What they don’t know is whatever concession God makes, that sin will kill them, just as that trace amount of cancer cells left behind will kill them. Tolerance to sin just doesn’t work.

Let’s use another illustration. You love your spouse and want him/her to be faithful to you. Would you tolerate your spouse to be 90% faithful? 95%? 99%? No, only 100% will suffice, anything less is adultery. It’s all or nothing.

(To be continued)

Is God Judgmental? (2 of 4)

God judgmental 2

(Continued from yesterday)

Yesterday we saw that because God is absolutely just He is the only standard there is. So what does God require of man?

Deut 10:12-13 “Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but
o to fear the LORD your God,
o to walk in all His ways and love Him, and
o to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and
o to keep the LORD’S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?
• Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But
o to do justice,
o to love kindness, And
o to walk humbly with your God?

What God wanted was for Israel to have a loving relationship with Him, serving Him and keeping His commandments, and being just and kind to others. Now ask yourself, are these requirements onerous, or fair and reasonable? As Creator who gave His people everything, does He have the right to require these from them?

Why does God require such from man?

Lev 11:44-45 For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. … For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
• 1 Pet 1:16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
• Mt 5:48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
• Lk 6:34 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

To be just, kind, holy, perfect, and merciful are God’s attributes. He required these for one reason – He loves us and wants the best for us, which is to be like Him.

What about the charge that God is harsh and does not cut any slack? He made a covenant with His people but they did not keep up their end of the deal – they sinned and disobeyed. God sent prophets to warn them to repent, but they killed and persecuted the prophets and kept on sinning:

Lk 11:49-51 For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.’
• Acts 8:51-53 You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”

(To be continued)

Is God Judgmental? (1 of 4)

God judgmental 1

Q. Why is God so judgmental? We’re human beings and prone to error. Why doesn’t He take our human condition into consideration and cut us some slack? He’s so strict, so intolerant!

A. That’s a fair question, but the way some worded it is very biased. Let’s dissect the question to see whether the accusation is valid.

To be judgmental is to have an excessively critical point of view, quick to criticize, to judge harshly. It describes someone who rushes to judgment without reason, because they think they know everything when in fact they don’t. Now, is that true of God?

First, let’s look at “excessive“. Excessive compared to what? Obviously, to the inquirer’s notion of what’s fair and reasonable. But that immediately raises the question, “Is his/her standard fair and reasonable?” Intuitively, the answer is, “It depends.” Depends on what? On which side you’re on. We all tend to think of ourselves as unbiased, but in fact we all have our prejudices. For example, in wage negotiations, management may feel a 2% increase is very reasonable and all they can afford, but labor may feel that does not even keep up with inflation and is unfair. What’s fair to you may not be fair to me. What we need is a standard that is not subjective or relative, but absolutely just. What, or who, is absolutely just? Obviously, it’s not you or I. Even though some may not like it, the answer is God, by definition. Only God is absolutely just, and He sets the standard by which all other standards are measured. Deut 32:4 “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.”

Secondly, let’s examine “know“. We are not in a position to judge because we know so little. Often we see only the tip of the iceberg, but we quickly jump to conclusion based on presuppositions without investigating the evidence. We know little or nothing about the motives, the background, the feelings, the circumstances, but we hastily assume the best or the worst because we are favorably inclined or prejudiced against the individual. Not so with God. Because God is omniscient, He knows all the facts of the case, and there is never any error in judgment. He never renders a hasty judgment and becomes judgmental.

(To be continued)