Wednesday, May 16, 2007

God on Trial?

But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world?
(Romans 3:5-6 – ESV)

Our unrighteousness serves to illustrate the righteousness of God. Paul answers the objections of those that would take the truths he is proclaiming and then say something like, “if we are just a pawn then how can God punish us?” or “If my sin brings Him glory, and He uses my weakness to show His strength, why am I guilty?” or “Doesn’t this make Him unjust?” This is definitely an argument you hear a lot today. That is why Paul says he speaks as a man, because he knows the depravity of the human heart in opposition to God.

The people Paul was addressing all conceded the fact that God was going to judge the world, and that some would make it and some wouldn’t. The Jews of Paul’s day figured that God would condemn the Gentile for his sin, but save the Jew despite his sin. Paul easily dismisses this objection by pointing out the fact that we know God is going to judge the world, and so obviously He cannot be unrighteous in doing so, so the objection is self-refuting. If what they said were true, God could judge no one. Let’s further illustrate this using scripture.

Acts 2:23 – even though your sin magnifies His righteousness this doesn’t mean you weren’t or aren’t wrong for doing it. Today we scream for justice, and God will be just, but we just don’t want Him to judge us according to His standard. That is what the real problem is, and our word games won’t change that.

Some of this may seem like overkill to you. You may be thinking, “yeah Paul, or yeah preacher, I get it, we all are sinners and we need the gospel and no special privilege will get us out of our problem without His provision”. However, Paul continues on because guided along by the Holy Sprit he knows that people might say that but they don’t believe it. He knows that they will play word games with God, just like the Pharisees tried to twist Jesus’ words, and we try and twist the truth of God. He knows how far men will go in their attempts to derail the truth train to avoid being hit. When we are confronted we will just start using anything we can to try and get out of it. It’s like your kids making up some unbelievable story when they come home with one shoe and no shirt, or you find them up in a tree with binoculars and a slingshot. God isn’t na├»ve. He isn’t playing your game.

Haven’t you ever run across someone like that? When witnessing they have every excuse in the book, intellectual (ironically), practical (too hard), supposedly moral (that principle against homosexuality is wrong or the God of the OT was a bloodthirsty tyrant, etc.), sociological (the church hurt them or someone they know), or whatever. Well that is why you don’t go there first. Don’t play their game. What you explain to them and get them to see is their sin. Of course, that is what people don’t want to see, and what Paul is confronting here. Oh yeah, they can see it in the world and in everybody else, and cry for justice, but they are “basically a good person”. It is so out of hand that people will go as far as to blame God for their sin, as Paul anticipates here. It is not that God is on trial, but us, and we are all guilty of sin. Only through Jesus can we receive pardon.


Halfmom said...

I think the one that is hardest to deal with is "Why did God do this to me" - and since I work at a medical school, I get to be around plenty of really sick people.

It's always a great opening for "God allowed, sin did" but such a really hard concept to understand, why a loving God would allow. And yet, I can see so clearly how some of the things that He has allowed that the world would deem horrible have been so incredibly for my good.

jazzycat said...

Good message... The world was severely corrupted by sin in the fall and we are not born 'basically good' as the world likes to believe. People then and now that believe in a works salvation are blind to the extent of their depravity.

Even So... said...

The problem with the world is you, not God...

Anonymous said...

we are ungreatful lunatics...
A sample of the meaning of the word...lunatic, "characteristic or suggestive of lunacy; wildly or recklessly foolish"
But thanks be to God through the Lord Jesus Christ, "Only through Jesus can we receive pardon."

donsands said...

"Haven’t you ever run across someone like that?"

Yep. Those are the norm.

When I say to someone, "Do you think you'll get into heaven when you die?", they usually say, "I hope so; I'm not sure", or they say, "Yeah, I think I've been a pretty good guy, and God will let me in".

Some Catholics say, "Well I guess I'm going to have a little time in purgatory".