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Why would a good God... (2)

Why would a good God... (2)
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Psalm 118:1

The Bible praises God for His goodness, but if that’s true, why does God judge people? And why is there God’s punishment and vengeance in the Bible?

Why would a good God judge people?

When God introduced Himself as the “I AM WHO I AM” in Exodus 3:34 He was saying that He is the eternal self-existent one who is the sum total of His characteristics. God simply “IS WHO HE IS” – we need to accept Him as He reveals Himself and we can’t tear Him apart, accepting some parts of Him while rejecting others. This can be challenging for us because we aren’t God, we aren’t perfect and eternal, so fully comprehending God who is perfect and eternal won’t be possible. But there are things we can know and understand.

To understand things like God’s judgment, punishment, and vengeance we need to acknowledge other aspects of God. For example, God is a God of truth (Jn 14:6). Not only does God not lie (He 6:18), but everything about God – His words, actions, promises, etc. – is always true and right. But that means that whatever contradicts God is wrong. And there are consequences to being wrong.

Think of it this way: is the law of gravity a good thing or a bad thing? Well, it’s good since it makes living on Earth possible. However, what happens when we ignore the law of gravity, when, for example, we fall off a cliff? Gravity can bring a blessing, but it judges, punishes, and avenges itself when we ignore it. The same is true with God’s truth.

Also consider that perfect justice is one of God’s characteristics (Ps 89:14). This is what righteousness is – always saying and doing what is consistent with what is right. Obviously, what is right implies that there are things that are not right, that are wrong. Justice means consistently choosing, deciding, and judging in a way that is consistent with what is right. This is why God judges – He points out the differences between what and who are right and wrong. There are consequences to being right and wrong: blessings and punishments.

God caused Scripture to be written so we know the judgment standard and can make informed decisions to do what is right or wrong (what is consistent with God and His character, or do what is contrary to Who He is). Scripture not only gives us a standard, but it gives us many illustrations of God showing the positive and negative results of people’s choices to obey or disobey Him. Our good God not only wants to bless us, but also warns us of the disaster that will come to all who reject Him and don’t follow His Son Jesus Christ. Judgment is coming and the choice is ours.  dd