“So the LORD said,
“I will wipe mankind, whom I have created,
from the face of the earth “
One of the greatest mistakes that we can make is to imagine God as a bland, ever- smiling type of Father Christmas who never gets upset. Any reading of scripture should dispel that image immediately.
God Almighty – the Creator of heaven and earth and all that is in them – is a majestic and awesomely holy God. No one who sins can live in His presence and no one who has sinned can ever cleanse themselves of that sin in a way that is acceptable to God. Sin put us outside of the presence of God forever.
God is known as a God of love, and so He is. But that does not mean that He ignores sin and laughs it off. If He did He would not be a God of love. Love cannot look on the pain and suffering – the violence and exploitation – the murder and rape – the genocides and slavery – the abuse of women and children – the homeless and starving – without being angry. That anger is not only at the fact of such suffering but is an anger directed at the people, systems and contexts that have contributed towards it and those who have been directly involved in it. Not one will be forgotten or overlooked. Behind it all is the sin of the rejection of the God who created us and called us into a way of relationship with Him and with others – a way of life and living – that is good and a blessing to all.
Scripture tells us of the judgement to come and paints a horrifying picture of it. It warns us-
“For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:30-31)
And then, in the Revelation, we hear the terrifying words concerning Jesus,
“He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” (Revelation 19:15)
From the very beginning there was no avoiding the searching eyes of God, nowhere to hide, no excuse to give. Judgement will happen and God’s decision will be both final and eternal.
Without God there would be no hope and no future. However, God in His great love has provided a way out. It is not by His ignoring or dismissing our sin and sins – but by taking them so seriously that He took His own terrifying and holy judgement upon Himself with all its ghastly and deathly consequences. That is where Lent is leading us – those who will go there and look to the God who is both Judge and Saviour for our salvation.
Lord God You are Holy – and I am a sinner. You are justified in Your judgement. I come to You because even now You are calling me. Take my hand Lord and never let me go. Amen.