Thursday, April 8, 2010

Does the Bible really say that the righteous will rejoice at God's vengeance upon the wicked? Yes, it does.

First of all, the Bible no where advocates or condones people rejoicing over the downfall of the enemy because of personal vengeance. All vengeance must be left to the LORD (Deut 32 and Rom 12). Nevertheless, when the Christian has a God-centered perspective, it is absolutely reasonable—yes, required—that believers rejoice at the destruction of the wicked. (Again, this is not personal vengeance or gloating that the wicked are finally cast into hell.)

But in my sermon last night I provided seven reasons why the righteous will rejoice at the judgment of the wicked:

1. God commands it (Rev 19:1-10)

In a mysterious way, God commands believers to rejoice because His judgments are poured out upon the wicked. Just read Revelation 19:1 (which immediately follows Rev 17-18 and the cataclysmic destruction of Babylon, the false religious system and the false political system during the Tribulation; that is to say, it is no 'lightweight' judgment) when the believers "rejoice" and "sing" and "make music" when God's judgments are poured out.

2. God’s righteous and holy character is vindicated

This requires a God-centered perspective. We think often of the love and mercy of God—and rightly so. But when we mention the holiness and justice and wrath of God we recognize that God is the Judge who has every single individual before Him absolutely and undeniably guilty of eternal charges! For God to judge them eternally and violently is absolutely in tune with His holy character. Thus, believers must rejoice because GOD is being vindicated.

3. The unrighteous rebellion is finally judged

When God judges the wicked, the righteous should rejoice because all unrighteous rebellion will be judged. When God finally judges the lawless, their rebelliousness will be condemned with them and thus will eradicate rebellion on earth (cf. Rev 20:11-15 for this final judgment). That is one reason why believers should rejoice!

4. God’s power is displayed in showing his supremacy

God displays his absolute and unsurpassed power in destroying the wicked. Only God can do such a widespread and universal act. Thus, when God destroys the wicked and brings vengeance upon them, the righteous must rejoice because God's power and God's supremacy is beautifully and gloriously put on display.

5. God’s faithfulness and truthfulness is proven as he does what he has promised all along—judge the wicked; thus we rejoice.

God has promised since the beginning (Gen 3) that He would judge sin. No one can deny that. Thus, God has made promises all throughout Scripture (hundreds and hundreds of them) that He will destroy the unrighteous and deliver the righteous. When God does, in the end, destroy the wicked and bring His vengeance upon them, God is just showing that "He is faithful" and that "He fulfills His promises." This is simply to say, "God keeps His Word!"

6. God’s sovereignty is displayed showing no one has absolute dominion like He does.

No one has dominion and sovereignty like God. No one. For God to judge sin and sinners is part of his character. It reveals His absolute kingship. We must rejoice because God's sovereignty is revealed when He (and only He can do this!) brings His vengeance upon those who reject Him and rebel against Him.

7. The destruction of the wicked means eternal glorification in perfection for the saints.

Finally, believers must rejoice because the eternal destruction of the wicked means eternal glorification for the saints. When God finally and fully punishes all sinners, then the eternal state of glory will have come. Eternal judgment for the wicked guarantees eternal life for the righteous.

Note that none of these seven points includes the righteous rejoicing that the wicked are finally pounded with God's judgment (=this is vengeance and we must leave that to God). Rather, with a God-centered perspective—that is to say, that God does absolutely everything to magnify His Name and exalt His own Character—all of these points are not only reasonable, they are desirable and anticipated. God is a good God who must punish sin.

For the believer in Jesus Christ:
Romans 5:9-10 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
For the Nonbeliever in Jesus Christ:
Deuteronomy 32:35-42 35 'Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.' 36 "For the LORD will vindicate His people, And will have compassion on His servants, When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free. 37 "And He will say, 'Where are their gods, The rock in which they sought refuge? 38 'Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, And drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you, Let them be your hiding place! 39 'See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand. 40 'Indeed, I lift up My hand to heaven, And say, as I live forever, 41 If I sharpen My flashing sword, And My hand takes hold on justice, I will render vengeance on My adversaries, And I will repay those who hate Me. 42 'I will make My arrows drunk with blood, And My sword will devour flesh, With the blood of the slain and the captives, From the long-haired leaders of the enemy.'


Anonymous said...

wow ... a sobering reminder. thanks, love!

-your wifey

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