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Salvation Through Judgment

 

Many segments of today's western church teach more on what they call "practical issues", instead of what I call "Biblical truth".  Practical issues could include, financial success, marital success, raising children, self analysis, and more.  For the most part, there's nothing wrong with teaching about these things, although some of them are too self serving in my thinking. 

 

The problem arises when we replace timeless theological truths with not so timeless practical issues. I believe we've done just that, with a weakened church as a result.  In many cases the church has become a self-help group when we should be a body of people doing the Lord's work.    

 

One such "not so practical teaching" that doesn't get much press these days is "the judgment of God".   Besides supposedly not being practical, it sounds too scary to think about.  If God's judgment is real, as I'm sure it is, we should understand how it affects us.  I think that's practical.         

 

Understanding God's judgment is also important because it is directly linked to our salvation.  There is no salvation apart from God's judgment.  This is a fundamental truth that many Christians miss.    

 

God's judgment is the process by which He evaluates people, nations, and situations; determines if they meet His righteous standards; and responds with a reward or with punishment.  God's judgment is based on His standard of justice, not ours.    

 

I believe "salvation rises out of God's judgment".  Therefore, you cannot disassociate God's judgment from salvation.  Salvation is not salvation without God's judgment being involved.  So, if we preach salvation and ignore God's judgment, we haven't preached the New Testament gospel. That's a serious offense.  

 

Exodus 6:6 helps explain this.  God told Israel that He "would free them from being slaves and redeem them with mighty acts of judgment." (NIV)  These acts of judgment devastated  Egypt so badly that Pharaoh drove the Jews from his nation.  You can thus see that Israel 's salvation did rise from God's judgment on Egypt.  Note also that even though God judged Egypt, Israel suffered from the hands of Egypt during the process.    

 

We see the first hint of salvation rising out of judgment as far back as Genesis 3:15.  God pronounced judgment on Adam, Eve, the serpent, and all of creation.  In the midst of this pronouncement of judgment, He spoke about a future salvation, when Eve's seed would crush the head of the serpent who deceived her.   

 

We see salvation rising from judgment in the flood of Genesis 6.  God judged mankind with a flood that killed everyone, except for Noah and his family.  Salvation rose out of judgment for Noah and his family. 

 

The death of Jesus is the most important example of salvation rising out of judgment.  When Jesus died on the cross, He experienced God's wrath and judgment.  Our salvation rose out of God's judgment upon Jesus. 

 

God's mighty act of judgment that was demonstrated on the cross was based on God's sense of justice. God evaluated man's condition and saw that it failed miserably to meet His righteous standards.  Because He is just, He had no other choice than to pronounce judgment and execute due punishment.  How God executed His judgment and subsequent punishment is incredibly amazing.  He became human in order to be the recipient of His own wrath, judgment, and punishment, so we could be the recipients of salvation.  Our salvation did rise out of judgment.  God forbid that we continue to ignore the severity of God's judgment.   

 

Another example of salvation rising out of judgment will take place in the Great Tribulation, as seen in the book of Revelation.  All nations of the world will be judged and punished for their sins and for their treatment of Israel.  As in the days of Israel 's enslavement in Egypt, Israel will suffer when God demonstrates His mighty acts of judgment on the nations, but in the end, Israel's salvation will rise out of judgment.

 

So there you have it.  Salvation does rise out of God's judgment.  I don't believe we can appreciate salvation without understanding God's judgment.  This is a timeless theological truth of Scripture.  And by the way, don't let the word "theological" frighten you.  It's not a bad word as some suggest.  We should never exchange any timeless truth of Scripture for a temporary teaching  on an issue that will soon pass away.  God's eternal truths can't be ignored, and if they are, it's to our peril. 

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