God is Patient, but Just

“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die. But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life. Because they consider all the offenses they have committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will not die. Yet the Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, people of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust?

“Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live! Ezekiel 18:25-32 I had a talk with one of my former youth students last night, a young man who is studying to be a preacher. I'm proud of him! He sees the state of the world and the response of those who call themselves by Christ and asked (paraphrased) "how we should respond to violence done against them? Why are Christians Angry and even encouraging violence being done to them so they can get their chance to retaliate? What should we point them to?" Quite frankly, I am as distressed by this as he is, as I think many who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit are. What we are seeing is Christians lacking intimate knowledge with God's word. In Matthew 5, for example, Jesus says " “You have heard that it was said,‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you,Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,[a]let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you." He has more to say on this, but ends this section of His sermon by saying "you must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. " What does Jesus mean by this? As we can see in Ezekiel, God does not delight in the death of anyone. He is patient. He waits for people to return. YET He is just, and so must judge based upon a repentant heart, or a self-seeking one. God is patient, and just. So when Jesus says "You must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect" He is saying we must be perfect in love and patience. We are not to take vengeance in to our own hands, nor hate our neighbor, nor welcome their destruction, nor seek to work it out for ourselves. If God wants that no man should perish, why should we? If God is the judge, why do we want to sit on that throne so often? Paul reminds us in Romans 12:14-21

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.16 Live in harmony with one another.Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you,live peaceably with all. Beloved,never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i]to the wrath of God, for it is written,“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary,“if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.




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