I am often asked if the recent earthquakes in China or the horrible tsunami that occurred near Jakarta a few years ago are the "judgment" of God. Many ministers say so from the pulpit every time such horrible things are reported on the news. The first thing that must be understood is that GOD'S JUDGMENT is completely different for saint and sinner, for the church and for the world. This is where a lot of confusion comes from, because people seem to make no distinction between the two. But the New Testament makes a complete distinction between how God's judgment functions between the church and the world.
GOD'S JUDGMENT OF THE WORLD
Read VERY CAREFULLY what Jesus said to Nicodemus. Even though this passage contains one of the most beloved verses in Christianity, most people never study the verses that follow:
John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The whole world is condemned "already!" This is the truth that completely annihilates all universalism religious ides that there are many paths to God. It does away with all New Age (including Oprah's and Carlton Pearson's) ideas that all "sincere" religious people will somehow make it to heaven. The whole world is already under the sentence of death. It is a fallen world with a lost species inhabiting it. It does not matter what religious systems that lost species invents on its own. God's judgment has already been rendered on the sons and daughters of Adam. That judgment is death. It is not a matter of, "Who will be sentenced to death?" All have been sentenced to death. The only question is, "Who will be saved out of death?" There is only ONE WAY ... and that is John 3:16! Here are some other verses from the New Testament to further illustrate the point. Jesus told the Pharisees;
John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Why would they "die in their sins?" Because they "believed not on Him." Jesus is the only way OUT of the judgment that has already been rendered on the sons of Adam. Here is another verse to think on in this vein of thought:
John 16:8-9 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me.
What is the sin the Holy Spirit will convict the "world" of? The sin of not believing on Jesus Christ! If they do not believe on Him, just like Jesus said to the Pharisees … the will die in their sins, meaning … they are condemned already! It is in regard to sinners, the "world," that Jesus spoke when He said,
John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.
The Father is not "judging" the world because of sins they are committing. The world has already been judged because of those sins. Jesus paid the price for the sin of the whole world. Therefore, all judgment has been turned over to the Son. All those who are found to be "in Christ" have received the payment Jesus rendered for them. They are no longer "in their sins." They have been saved "out of their sins" by the blood of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is convicting the "world" of the sin of not believing the gospel of Jesus Christ!
This is why I disagree with the majority of ministers who declare that such things as the terrible tsunami of a few years ago that killed several hundred thousand people was the judgment of God. The vast majority of the people killed by that tsunami were non-Christians, mostly Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. These are very the people God is trying to SAVE with the gospel of Christ. These are the very people the church has been commissioned to go to and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ so they can be saved. They are already condemned, lost, and under the death penalty. Is God going to now judge them again, and remove them from the planet through natural disaster where they no longer have any hope of hearing the gospel? Not likely. That tsunami was the natural result of this fallen world that is also "groaning" in agony because of the fall of man. The earth itself is in travail with earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other such things. None of these things were originally in the Garden. There will be no such things in the "new heaven and new earth." They only exist today because of the fall of man.
Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
It is possible for God to render judgment through natural things like earthquakes. But too often those things are called the judgment of God by preachers when in reality they are simply the result of the "groanings" of this fallen world as it labors under the weight of man's sin. Next month we will take a scriptural New Testament look at how the Lord judges the church.
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,
Gary Carpenter Ministries|
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