For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
God has never wavered in His assessment of sin. Often with a false definition of justice, we say things like, “Why is God so harsh against those who commit sin?” The reality is, “How can a God who is truly ‘just’ not punish sin when He has declared that all sin will be punished?” A judge who does not punish offenders in his courtroom, is not a just judge. If someone murders, breaking the law, the judge is only ‘just’ if he sentences the murderer to serve punishment for his crime. Justice is only true justice when it executes punishment. God then, as a just God, must execute punishment on those who commit sin. When the angels disobeyed and rebelled, they were cast down. When the world revolted and sinned from the beginning, God sent a purging flood to cleanse the earth. When Sodom and Gomorrah directly violated God’s designs especially in the area of sexuality, God used fire and brimstone to execute punishment for sin. But in all of those scenarios, God did not kill all. In heaven He did not scathe the remnant of angels who remained loyal. In the flood, Noah and his family were spared. In Sodom and Gomorrah, God retrieved Lot moments before the fiery torrent devastated the cities. He is a just and gracious God. Punishment is reserved to those who violate His designs and His laws. Sadly, we all fall into the category of “law-breaker.” Romans 3 says that we “all have sinned.” Justice calls for punishment for that sin. As the angels were cast down, and the world was drowned, and the two cities were scorched, we have positioned ourselves under the just wrath of a righteous God. But the same God who is just, according to Ephesians 2, is also rich in mercy. Without compromising His justice, He extends to us grace and forgiveness through Jesus. How? Because on the cross, He poured out His wrath on Jesus so that we would not have to feel it. Now, if we put our faith in the work of Jesus, we can have mercy and grace from the hand that once held wrath. God is Good. God is Just. God is Merciful. Jesus is Wonderful.
Food For Thought: What question should we ask instead of “why is God so harsh against those who commit sin?”?