To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Judgement’ Category

The Bible Is Shocking

A common response to encountering the material of the Bible is to resent, even be outraged, by the judgement passages. The accounts about peoples and nations being wiped out (see the book of Joshua for example) and how God uses His people to fight and war against other nations and vice versa are shocking to people. As a result, people say that they do not want the God of the Bible because of what they perceive to be this shocking material.

The “judgement” parts of the Bible tend to cause this aversion whereas those passages on love are welcomed and appreciated. Is this a reasonable response? I suggest that it is not. It is the love passages that should shock us and not the judgement passages!

If we properly appreciate what happened in Genesis 1-3 we will start to have a different appreciation of these things. Genesis 1 and 2 is about how the God of perfect harmony and unity worked to create that which was beautiful so as to display and share this harmony and unity, which was and is eternally His. Most specially mankind was created so that he (Adam), being in the image of God, could enter into a glorious experience of knowing and living with His God and creator.

Adam had around him palpable evidence of the goodness of the Lord. Yet in Genesis chapter 3 we see how man chose to rebel against the God who had done nothing but good for him. Adam walked out on God giving him a V sign and so much more. This was defiance and rebellion of the highest order.

Given these facts, judgement should be seem as normal and catastrophe, war and misery should be anticipated as the disastrous judgemental outcomes of such a rebellious stance by mankind. For it to be otherwise would be for God to give the impression that life is better without Him, which it never is.

The outrageous thing in this context is that God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). It is absolutely breathtaking that God should take such an initiative to bring people bask into His fullness of life. It is shocking that God could be so generous that in Jesus He could work  so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:26b).

The problem we have in grasping this understanding hinges on the issue of how we appreciate our humans condition. Our deceitful hearts, and the propaganda of the world, all cultivate the idea that we are pretty decent people and, if there is a God, He really should be nice to us.

This is a gross misrepresentation of the reality, which is that we, as the descendants of Adam, are those who have acted heinously. When we get this truth into our heads and are honest about what we have done to God, then we start to see things properly. And the outcome is that we have no difficulty with the understanding the judgement passages, it is the grace passages which shock us and we feel unable to get our heads around!

Oh praise Him for his grace; truly amazing grace.

Italy (3)

I want to dwell here upon our visit to Pompeii. The city of Pompeii was obliterated by volcanic ash emitted as a result of an eruption of  Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79AD.  The city has been re-discovered through archaeological excavations which have taken place over the last 250 years. We visited it on Monday, November 4th.

It is an interesting place to visit. The audio guide was not so helpful, but speaking to the personnel who were situated at certain parts of the site to keep watch and guide people was most helpful. They all spoke good English and seemed to be archaeology students at Naples University.

One thing that became apparent through visiting was that Pompeii was a place of gross immorality. Sexual licentiousness, fornication and lasciviousness were de rigeur in the place. It really had resemblance to a Sodom and Gomorrah type place. Here is one view on how we can consider the burying of Pompeii in volcanic ash as a judgemental intervention of God.

Further information on the happenings on that fateful day can be found here. I make two further observations:

  • South westerly winds were normal at that time of year in Southern Italy. For Pompeii to be devastated required North-westerly winds. This again points to the finger of God.
  • The previous day the Romans had been celebrating Vulcanalia which focused upon their devotion to the god of fire including volcanic fire. There is only one God of fire and that is the true God known through Jesus Christ.

In reviewing this whole matter we must be careful of saying this event happened as an act of judgement by God because of the sin of the people. The Lord warns of the danger of such cause and effect reasoning in Luke 13:1-5 where He says:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish

I conclude with three observations:

  1. When we see calamities in the world rather than rushing to apportion blame or attribute responsibility we need to realise that we are in a world destabilised by sin. And I am a sinner and I need to repent so that I will not face judgement.
  2. The similarity between what happened to Pompeii and what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah are striking. So striking that we hear the voice of God echoing through the Pompeii events and saying sexual immorality is detestable to me and devastating to humanity and my anger stands against those communities given over to it.

These two observations should gave us much pause for thought as to our own personal situations and the precarious position we find ourselves in in the West through the embracing of a multitude of sexual perversions

Upheaval In UK

The biggest surprise we should have concerning life in the UK is that things have continued to be so stable for so long. The fact that we seem to be entering a time of turbulence should not be a surprise.

One of the themes of scripture is the collapsing of government and societies which set themselves against God and His ways. The ejection of Adam and Eve from the Garden In Genesis 3:22-24 was the first example of this. The flood events in Genesis 6-8 and disrupting of the people through diverse languages in Genesis 11 all showed God causing upheaval on account of the people’s sin.

The rejection of God’s ways over the last century in the UK through the propounding of alternative moralities and the exaltation of man, must inevitably have consequences. The foundations of have gradually been eroded and the new superstructure of society is standing on very flimsy foundations.

So as we face increasing turbulence. In so many ways not only though the shenanigans surrounding Brexit, but also through the knife crime on our streets, extensive drug use, dismembering of families, etc. As we face these things we should not be surprised.

I have written here previously about how long the West might last.

But praise God amidst turbulence we can turn to the Rock. Let us rejoice in these words of David from Psalm 40:1-4

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.
Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!

In turbulent times we cannot find rest in the times, but only in our God. May the days we are set to go through be days when the church of God draws away from the “rocks” of this world to the only true rock, our God Himself. And in the Lord’s grace may many who have placed their hope in this world repent and come and join us there.

The Rains Have Come

After the drought of the summer (I wrote about that here) the rains have come. What is our reaction to this? For many it is assumed that this is just what happens. We have sun and cold; we have dry and wet. It all evens itself out in the end and all is well. Our crops grow and there is water in our taps and there is no problem

However, I am left wondering about how such a presumption does not entertain God in the calculating of things. It is, after all, God who sends the weather. He is in control of all things. Continually He sends his blessing on these islands of the British Isles, just off mainland Europe. But will it always be so?

I am left wondering about the advance of so many God dishonouring ways among us. The Word of God is not considered in the making of legislation by our leaders and in the living of lives by the people. The God who is the living Lord is ignored and despised.

We live in a country under the judgement of God. This is seen in Romans 1:21-32  in the swift embracing of all things homosexual. In that passage we see people rejecting the Word of God and embracing idolatry in its place. As a result, in His judgement, He gives them up to dishonour themselves with their bodies; men with men and women with women. From that the society degenerates into all kinds of moral chaos.

The rejection of marriage as the fundamental building block of society does not bode well. Neither does the continued onslaught of transgender dogma in our society, Both of these are examples of our God-rejecting ways.  How long will the Lord continue to send the cold and heat and the rain and sun? We are in His hands and we cannot presume that it will always be that way.

Blessing and Curse.

In Deuteronomy 11:26-30 we see the prophesied establishing of the mountain of curses and the mountain of blessings. Mount Gerizim was to be the mountain of blessing and Mount Ebal the mountain where the curses were read. These were real places in the promised land with epic implications. These were mountains and so were big, unmistakable, indestructible. They were there for all to see and were always a reminder of a God who loves righteousness and hates sin.

So what of me? When I see Ebal how do I respond? At Ebal I see me in all my sin. I see at Ebal that in my flesh in my natural state, I am properly set for judgement and under the curse of God. I see my just desserts I see me as the cause of all my peril and I grieve and mourn and tremble and am petrified.

When I see Gerizim I see a total contrast. At Gerizim I see Christ. I see the One who, not only is the source of any blessing, but is the One who is my blessing. I see in Jesus Christ my Lord the one who takes away my sins and gifts the Holy Spirit to me. I see One who has given me eternal life and in Him I have all spiritual blessings. And when I look at Gerizim I am thankful. And I proclaim without Him I am nothing and I can do nothing.

So go and ponder upon Gerizim and Ebal today!

Peace With God.

I was clearing some things out at home yesterday and decided to discard an old frame with a decorated text in it. The frame was falling apart and so I thought I would throw the whole thing away. So it ended in the bin.

However, I pondered upon it this morning and felt uncomfortable about binning the text. And as I have pondered I felt I needed that text. So I have retrieved it from the garbage and have placed it in front of me at my desk. The text is: Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).

This justification is ours now if we are in Christ. The acquittal before the judgment throne of God took place those years ago at Calvary’s cross. And I stand righteous before God in Christ totally righteous. Amazing. Whether I feel it; whether I remember it; or whatever, I am accepted and that forever. Praise the Lord.

Worth taking a look at at least once day I reckon.

Destruction From The Lord.

In Joel 1:15 we read:-

Alas for that day!
    For the day of the Lord is near;
    it will come like destruction from the Almighty.

The shocking thing about this verse is that we read about destruction coming from the Almighty. We so very easily operate on a dualistic approach to life. This means that we determine that anything bad that comes into our lives comes from Satan and anything good comes from God. Verses like Joel 1:15 upset that reasoning. Here destruction (and that sounds pretty bad)  comes from the Lord.

So our notions of a dualistic universe need to be corrected. A better way of expressing the reality of how things function is to say that this is a unitary universe with one Lord and King who determines all. He is the sovereign Lord.

Moreover, we read that the Lord did not just allow destruction He is the author of such destruction. If we have a thorough Biblical theology this should not surprise us because it is established that God’s whole nature is repulsed by sin. Sin is an offence to His holy being. Sin is a breaking of His holy law; that law reflects who God is through indicating what he loves and hates. When His law is broken His holy wrath comes forth and is poured out upon all those whose lives are contaminated by sin.

Thus we return to the day of the Lord which Joel speaks of. The day of the Lord is a time when God breaks openly in history. It is a time when the curtain which hides His workings is removed and His workings are “in your face”. What we see in Joel 1:15 is eternal judgement invading time. Today, we see, God’s workings hidden in so many ways. Faith can see them, but the natural eye does not. In the day of the Lord the activity of God are indisputable.

As we ponder on the reality of God’s judgment against sin and sinners, well might we be led to thanksgiving when we realise that all destruction from the Lord fell upon my Saviour, the Lord Jesus at Calvary. He was destroyed for me there, so that I might never need to be under destruction. Praise Him.

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