Psalm 7 TALK: God is my defender

BIBLE STUDY ON PSALM 7

GOD IS MY DEFENDER

(THE SEARCH FOR ULTIMATE JUSTICE)

 INTRODUCTION

 Police officers are gunned down because someone wants to get back at police, their families are shattered and their fellow officers are traumitised, a innocent man is targeted by a terrorist group and he his blown up in a car bomb in a country in the middle east. As his family and friends gather at his funeral another terrorist blows himself up killing and maiming many others. A marriage goes off the rail and the couple are separated and the father decides to kill his children and himself in a murder suicide to get back at his wife.

So it goes week after week on the news and we ask, “is there any real justice”?

In the story and movie, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, a small time lawyer, Atticus Finch in a fictitious town in the American south called, Maycomb, takes up the fight to defend a Blackman named Tom Robinson who is accused of raping a white girl he knew and was friends with. Robinson is the victim of racial prejudice and even though Atticus clearly proves he is innocent of the crime the all white jury finds him guilty purely because he is black. Robinson is killed when he attempted to escape from jail.

Have you ever been accused of something you did not do?

In Psalm 7 David faces enemies who unjustly accuse him of something he had not done and like Tom Robinson in the story and movie, “To Kill a Mockingbird” he faced vicious and deceitful foes. David looks to God as his defender and in his reflections on his very real problem realises that only in God can real justice be found.

Psalm 7 is only one of the Psalms that deals with the theme of justice. The word judge occurs 23 times in the Psalms and the word judgment 12 times.

In this study we will look at the concept of God being our great Defender and the source of real justice.

I have divided this Psalm into 4 sections :

 1.  THE ACCUSER AND THE FALSE ACCUSATION (1 – 5)

 2.  THE APPEAL TO A HIGHER COURT (6 – 9)

 3.   THE DEFENDER OF THE FAITHFUL AND HIS WRATH AGAINST ALL EVIL  (10 – 13)

  4.  THE JUSTICE OF GOD IN ACTION AND THE FAITHFULS RESPONSE TO  IT (14 – 17)

 Note : We do not know who “Cush” is but he is a Benjamite the same tribe that King Saul comes from. Even at the time of the rebellion of David’s son Absalom members of Saul’s tribe hated David and would have accused David of many wrong things, see 2 Samuel 16 : 5-8.

1. THE ACCUSER AND THE FALSE ACCUSATION ( 1 – 5)

 David seems to be in great danger, Cush (whoever he is) and his followers seek to capture David and like a lion (vs.2) tear him to pieces. David does what he has done each time this kind of thing has happened and calls out to God to save and deliver him.

In verses 3 to 5 David presents his case for innocence. He believes he does not deserve to be treated the way he is being treated. This fits very well the context of his troubles with King Saul before he became King. David sought to serve Saul both as a successful soldier and as a personal comforter through his music but all he got in return was angry and hostile vengeance. This terrible attitude of Saul to David can only be explained by one great fact, Saul was out of step with God and David was not and this filled Saul with violent jealousy. We see this clearly for the first time in 1 Samuel 18 : 28 – 30,

When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, 29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days. 30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known”.

From this time on David virtually was continually hunted by Saul and his men and this only stopped when Saul was defeated in battle and killed many years later.

It must have been a great painful puzzle to the God loving and loyal David. He only sought to serve Saul and showed this in his many victories in battle for Saul. He also married one of Saul’s daughters, Michal and his best friend was Saul’s son, Jonathan. This made life for David very painful and complicated and while David was on the run he probably prayed many prayers like Psalm 7.

In David’s prayer in Psalm 7 verse 3 – 5 he asks God to let his enemies over take him and kill him if he is not innocent of the crimes his enemies accuse him of. This is the same sort of thing David said to Saul after he had the chance to kill him as he slept one night in a cave while on the hunt for David. We read these words in 1 Samuel 24 : 11 – 15,

“See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. Now understand and recognize that I am not guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.14 “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? 15 May the LORD be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”

David is asking God for justice and there are many examples both in the bible and in the history of the world when many people were accused of things they did not do and suffered as a result.

I had a very painful experience of this many years ago in my work at TAFE. As a TAFE course coordinator I was accused of offering work to another part time TAFE teacher and then giving the work to a different teacher. I was threatened with a court case but eventually the TAFE organization settled with the teacher out of court. I was told to not say anything to this teacher if I ever saw him again. The following week the teacher met me in the car park and spoke very vicious and damming words against me and I had to keep my mouth shut. I wanted to defend myself but I was not allowed to do so. Many Christians today face similar but far more painful experiences than I faced.

In a recent addition of a publication called “4 Freedoms Community” I read these very disturbing words,

“Over the past few months a number of attacks on Christians and their properties have taken place in Pakistan, additionally a number of abduction, rape and forced marriage of female Christians, and false allegations of blasphemy against innocent Christians has taken place over the past year”.

Many Christians suffer for their faith today and we need to pray for the persecuted Church and people like those mentioned in the article. Peter has some encouraging words to say for us when we suffer for our Christian faith in 1 Peter 2 : 11 – 12,

 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us”.

And 1 Peter 4 : 12  – 19

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And,

   “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,

      what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

 19So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good”.

We will look at bit closer at these passages in the New Testament section of this study.

2. THE APPEAL TO A HIGHER COURT (6 – 9)

 David now appeals to God for justice. This is another example of what is called , imprecation which  is a term which invoking evil or judgment on someone.  There are many examples of imprecation in the Psalms and these Psalms are often called Imprecatory Psalms. I looked at this in more detail in my study of Psalm 5 and quoted a writer by the name of Dr Peter Hammond from a article he wrote called “Praying for Justice”. Hammond points out that Christians in the west would not pray like this today. Following the teachings of Christ we are to pray for our enemies and even turn the other cheek when struck. We see Jesus teaching us this in Matthew 5 : 38 – 48,

 38“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

 43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighborand hate your enemy.’

44But I tell you: Love your enemiesand pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”.

 However Hammond goes on to point out that many Christians even today do pray the sort of prayer David prayed here in Psalm 7. These are Christians who have faced horrific and unjust persecution and many have been tortured and even killed falsely simply because they profess Christ and their Lord and Saviour.

However If we do pray for total Justice now we are actually praying for the end to come because it will be only in the day of Judgment that total justice is delivered by God. This is clear from a verse like Acts 17 : 31,

“For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

David seems to be asking for three things to happen here :

1. For God to rise up in anger or wrath against his enemies

2. For God to Judge according to his righteousness compared to ours

3. For God to bring an end to wickedness in this world

 

1.     For God to rise up in anger or wrath against his enemies

We read in verse 6 and 7 these words,

“Arise, O LORD, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you. Rule over them from on high;”

Many people have great problems with the biblical concept of a God of Wrath as opposed to a God of Love. There are probably many reasons why this is so but I think they all come back to a poor understanding of what God’s love actually is. To me love without wrath and judgment is merely simply just weak sentimentality.

Let me explain, many years ago I had the opportunity of presenting the Gospel message to a large group of teenage school children. I was battling with my this audience with my original planned talk. The students simply were not listening to what I was trying to tell them. I then switched my talk to a story about a boy I had recently met who had left his loving Christian home and got involved in drugs. Like the prodigal  son story in Luke 15 the boy returned to his family after sinking very low and becoming very desperate and his father accepted him back in love and helped him come off drugs and back to following Christ. My talk seemed to have great impact and many asked questions and claimed they to wanted to now follow Christ. However a minister from the local Lutheran Church who was also at this event scolded me with the words, “You said nothing about the Holiness of God so you therefore did not present the Gospel message”. This reaction really hit me hard and I was initially puzzled by it.

I suppose what he was trying to say is that a presentation of the Gospel that does not clearly present the full character of God is hollow and insufficient. You God is holy, that is he does not do wrong he is righteous. We are not like God we are sinful fallen beings and face the judgment of God as a result.

This is why God just cannot simply overlook our sins and forgive us. His Holy and just character demands payment for our sins which is death. Only Jesus, God’s righteous son could pay for our sin by taking the punishment for it on the cross.

The story of the prodigal son does present how God sees our fallen state before him, Luke 15 : 18 – 19,

“I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men”.

It also reveals how God will treat those who turn back to him in faith and repentance, Luke 15 : 20 – 24,

So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.22“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate”.

This is picture language for, he will accept us with love and joy, love we don’t deserve called “Grace” in the bible.

However the Lutheran minister was correct, it does not teach us about God’s Anger or Wrath towards sin and how this comes out of his Holy or righteous nature. This is seen via the message of the cross. For at the cross we see both God’s anger to sin, seen in the terrible death of Christ and the love of God seen in the fact that his son went through this death to save us who don’t deserve saving.

2. For God to Judge according to his righteousness compared to ours

Following on from verses 6 and 7 we read in verse 8,

“let the LORD judge the peoples. Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, 
according to my integrity, O Most High”.

David seems to be saying he thought he thought he was righteous. However we know from David’s life story and how he often wrote of how he was dependant on God’s mercy for his ongoing relationship with God. David was a big time sinner, he fell to adultery and murder though the Bathsheba story. Note however how he seeks God’s forgiveness as he repents of these sins in Psalm 51 : 1 – 4,

 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge”

No, David does not see himself as righteous but in the context of those who accuse him here he is innocent. Probably the fact of God’s righteousness and our unrighteousness should cause us to have great caution in praying for justice in this world. Not that we should pray as Martin Luther taught for “Thy Kingdom to come” but realize as he also taught such a prayer is to pray for the Day of Judgment to come. This day is not here yet simply because as Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3 : 9,

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.

However when we are innocent of charges made against us, like David was we can, like him call to the higher court of God in heaven, through prayer for him to defend us.

3. For God to bring an end to wickedness in this world

Finally we read in verse 10,

O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.

Again if we pray this prayer for God to bring an end to wickedness in this world we are praying for God’s Kingdom to come and therefore the final day of judgment. This does not mean that we should just let violence and wickedness go unchecked in this world. We can certainly pray that God deal with violence and wickedness but not pray for its end unless we are praying for the Lord Jesus to come and judge this world as spoken about in passages like Matthew 25 : 31 – 33,

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left”.

 Finally Peter teaches us the right way we should respond to the knowledge of the coming of Christ and the final judgment we all will see and experience then in 2 Peter 3 : 10 – 15,

 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him”.

The knowledge of the day coming when God will end all wickedness in this world should stir us on to live more holier lives and spur us on to preach the Gospel which is the only hope to avoid the consequences of that judgment coming.

      3.   THE DEFENDER OF THE FAITHFUL AND HIS WRATH AGAINST ALL EVIL (10 – 13)

 In this section we learn that God alone is our defender. In verse 10 David describes God as his, “Shield”, this means his safety and protection is found in God alone. As he goes on to say, “God Most high, who saves the upright in heart”.

 The Psalm from verse 11 and on changes from a plea for help to a prediction of help. This prediction of help from the God who is David’s defender is based on the nature of his God.

This nature is described in three ways :

1. God is a righteous Judge

2. God is a determined Judge

3.  God is a fearful Judge

 

1.     God is a righteous Judge

 In verse 11 we read,

“God is a righteous judge”

 When some people hear the concept that the God of the bible gets angry or is a God of wrath that leads him to judge us for the sins we have committed they get confused and say “but I thought God was Holy and full of love, how can he get angry”. They say this because they know that when we (human beings) get angry we are sinning. God’s anger is different and in fact is a bi product of his holiness. We see this in a verse like Nahum 1 : 2 – 3,

 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.  His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet’

 Some people dismiss this as the God of the Old Testament but not the new but Paul speaks in a similar way in 2 Thessalonians 1 : 5 – 10

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you”.

 In fact we cannot really understand God’s love and why the cross of Christ was necessary unto we first understand that God is a righteous Judge and must have a just payment for our sin before we can be accepted by him into his presence.

In other words God’s love is not a cheap love it cost him the price of his Son’s death on the cross.

2.     God is a determined Judge

 God is constant and reliable, in fact he is the one unchangeable constant thing in all of creation and because of this we can rely on him. In verse 12 we read,

“he does not relent”

 This means God will not overlook sin and his justice will be upheld. The picture here is God is always ready for his battle against sin and wickedness. However Peter points out in 2 Peter 3 : 9,

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.

 He simply withholds his anger or righteous wrath on this world because of his loving nature, because he wants us to turn back to him in repentance and faith.

3.     God is a fearful Judge

 In verses 12 and 13 David paints a terrifying picture of God getting prepared for Judgment,

“If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows”.

To David these words were not terrifying words to him but comforting words because not only was God going to protect him  from his enemies (be his shield) but fight for him against his enemies as well. We to have this awesome God on our side and one day as Peter speaks of in 2 Peter 2 : 4 – 9 ,

 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeonsto be held for judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment”.

       4.   THE JUSTICE OF GOD IN ACTION AND THE FAITHFULS RESPONSE TO  IT (14 – 17)

In verses 14 and 15 we read of two illustrations of what David is declaring in verse 17.

Namely,

The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head’.

The evil they do comes back on them, like an evil pregnant women giving birth to evil or a evil person falling into a hole they dug for their enemies. We often call this “Divine Justice”. Often people reap the results of their sins.

Like when a man murders another man and the murdered man’s brother kills him for murdering his brother or a man dies of a disease like syphilis owing to a promiscuous sexual lifestyle.

However the greatest example of evil coming back on those who committed evil is that of The Lord Jesus Christ an innocent man who the devil killed through evil people but that act of killing him became the way he and evil was defeated for evermore. We see this kind of teaching in Hebrews 2 : 14 – 15,

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death”.

Finally David ends on a high note of praise in verse 17,

“I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high”.

In this word of praise David vows to continually thank God and sing of his righteousness because he has realized that God is his defender and his enemies who are also the enemies of God will be brought down in judgment. This is because David’s God is the Lord most high and he one day will judge everyone with righteousness.

Our only hope is to repent of our many sins and believe that Jesus died for them on the cross and then we can join with Jude in saying,

“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen’

Jude 1 : 24 – 25

PART 2.  THREE NEW TESTAMENT INSIGHTS

1.     Judging others – Matthew 7 : 1 – 5

 Psalm 7 raises the important issue of God’s Judgment particularly the judgment of those who oppose believers. Even though David and other Psalm writers called down God’s judgment on their enemies Christ taught that for his followers this is not the way for them. In fact Jesus says if you do judge others you will be judged.

Christians today are often full of criticism of each other and this creates division and poor witness in the world. The problem of Christians disagreeing with each other and having a spirit of judgment not love is something that has been present in the church throughout the ages. In Philippians 4 verse 2 – 3 we read of Paul speaking to two women who had fallen into this trap of the devil,

“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life”.

 Paul has spoken much about love and humility in the previous chapters and is encouraging us to have the same attitude of Christ who gave up glory to become a servant and die for us (Philippians 2 : 5 – 11).

It is even harder to love those who do not love us, those who make fun of us for what we believe. Jesus showed us how much we should do this at the time of his crucifixion Jesus prays to his father in heaven and asks Luke 23 : 34,

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Jesus is not only modeling how we should love our enemies but he is showing what we should do, instead of speaking words of judgment against our enemies we should pray for them. This is what Jesus teaches us to do in Luke 6 : 27 – 28,

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you”.

 When Christians have done this many wonderful things have happened. Listen to this quote from a man named Glenn Penner,

Some have mistakenly believed that the words, “the blood of the martyrs is the seeds of the church” can be found in the New Testament. They’re not. In fact, the phrase, itself, is a paraphrase of a statement made by an early church leader called Tertullian in 197 A.D. in a book he entitled The Apology. In it, Tertullian writes to the Roman governor of his province, refuting various false charges being made against Christians and the Christian faith, arguing that the followers of Christ were loyal subjects of the empire, and thus, should not be persecuted.

At any rate, Tertullian observes, the persecution was failing to destroy Christianity. He writes, “kill us, torture us, condemn us, grind us to dust; your injustice is the proof that we are innocent. Therefore God suffers (allows) that we thus suffer’.

It was through the way early Christians suffered in an attitude of love for their tormentors and faith in their God that the cold and vicious Roman Empire fell to the Christian Gospel. Examples of this happening in other ages and places abound.

2.  What  Paul teaches us about Judgment in Acts 17 verse 31

 In Acts 17 verse 31 we read,

“For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

 Interestingly this is the climax of Paul’s sermon at the Areopagus in Athens. Here he is not preaching to God fearing Old Testament believing Jews but pagans who have no real knowledge of the God of the bible.

What is the main thing he wants to say to this audience but that there is a God in heaven and he will judge this world on one coming day and they must repent of there ignorance and rebellion of the one true God and turn to the one God has appointed Judge, Jesus Christ our Lord who God raised from the dead to prove he is of God.

Even more interesting is what most of these non believing Greeks reject Paul’s message on, namely the resurrection, someone rising from the dead. A god judging the world was not the stumbling block but a man rising from the dead, well that was really ridiculous. This is the same as many people today, the Christian claim that Jesus rose from the dead is both confronting and ridiculous to most non believers yet this is the very thing that makes the Christian faith have the proof that it is the truth.

As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15 : 12 – 17

“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins”.

 So Paul preached that there is a judgment coming and that is one day in the future when Christ will return from heaven and all this is certain to happen because he rose from the dead to declare to everyone that he is God and has defeated sin and the devil.

3. What  Paul teaches us about the coming Judgment and its benefits in Romans 8 : 18 – 25

 One of the most powerful and amazing passages in the bible, to me is Romans chapter 8, which sets out among other things the hope that the redemption of Christ brings us. This hope is bound up in the coming Judgment of God when Christ returns. Lets read what Paul actually says here in verses 18 – 25,

 1”I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently”.I chose this passage about the coming of Christ and his judgment he will bring to the whole of creation not because it speaks about the Judgment in any detail but rather it speaks about this coming day of reckoning in a very positive way. For the believer the last day is in fact the first day when suffering ends and glory begins not only for us but for all of creation.

Paul is saying here that the suffering, turmoil and chaotic features of the natural world are linked to man kinds fall to sin and God’s judgment on man from Adam on as we read in Genesis 3 : 17 – 19,

To Adam he said,

“Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you. “You must not eat it”.

“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken for dust you are and to dust you will return”.

 From the fall onwards mankind is out of step with God and because of that creation itself. It might seem a mighty simplistic thing to say but when people are caught up in so called natural disasters they only experiencing the consequences of being out of step with God and living in a hostile world creaking and groaning to the constant consequences of man kinds fall.

This suffering however ceases on the day of Judgment when the beautiful harmony of all things will be established forever. As Paul says, “the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” and again he says, “we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies”.

 The day of Judgment then has two sides to it. On one side it is a terrible day of reckoning and punishment for those outside of Christ and on the other side it is a glorious day of glorification of those in Christ.

TWO APPLICATIONS

 1.     justice in this world           

 When people ask, “Where is justice in this world?” the answer is when God decides to end it when Christ returns. If there was not a day of judgment and reckoning than life would be just a cruel joke. People do face God’s judgment on them in various ways and means before the final judgment but even if they seem to get away with terrible things in this life in the life and judgment to come they will not escape the awesome wrath of God unless they turn in repentance and faith to the Saviour Jesus Christ the Lord.

  1. Dealing with any false charges brought against you because you are a Christian?

Peter answers this question in 1Peter 3 : 14 – 18 :

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit”

PRAYER:

Thank you Lord that you are a God of Love and Justice. Your love saves us even though we deserve your wrath to come down on us in Judgement. We have this underserved love because of what your Son did for us on the cross, dying in our place. However we know that one day you will judge the world and we thank you that anyone not in Christ will face the full force of your Just Judgment of their sins. Help us to help others to know your love in Christ and escape the certain day of Judgment to come. In Jesus name Amen.

 

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