As we walk through the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage last week, people are lashing out at one another from both sides. In the midst of all of this chaos, there is a quote from Rick Warren floating around the internet world that says,
“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believer or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
But yet our need for approval and self-fulfillment yearns for everyone to not only agree with us but to support and affirm us. This, obviously, is impossible in a world where people have different belief systems and different values. Thus we cry “tolerance”. Live and let live. But subconsciously by tolerance we really mean, “agree with me”.
And a very interesting response to disagreement these days is the statement, “Only God can judge me”. It is intended to be a conversation ender, to put off someone who would call someone else out on an action or deed, but the irony is that God will indeed judge us, He has given us sixty-six books to help us understand exactly how and for what He will judge us, and yet we think we are walking with His affirmation. In short, the person who will judge most fairly and most harshly is God. He will not overlook any small sin that our moms, our teachers, or even the law overlooked. There is no “warning” for speeding. If you are guilty, you will pay. There is no “I will let it go this time” or “extra credit” to make up for where we were lacking.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
– Rom 3.23
as it is written,
“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”
– Rom 3.10-12
Scripture teaches us that there is none righteous, and that all have sinned. Every. Single. Person. And what is the punishment for sin?
“For the wages of sin is death…”
– Rom 6.23
Everyone who has sinned deserves and will suffer physical death. And those who have not found salvation in Jesus will suffer eternal death in Hell:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”
– 1 Cor 6.9-10
“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
– Rev 21.8
Have you ever told a lie? That alone is enough to be sent to Hell. Did you ever eat a cookie that your mom said not to eat? That was sin enough to get Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden and bring the curse upon the entire world. Now, based on that fact, whose judgement would you rather have? God’s or man’s? This is why Jesus admonishes us,
“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
– Matt 10.28
God sends people to Hell. And Jesus says that that should be the most fearful thing, not even someone who would murder you. God’s judgment is that much stricter and worse than man’s.
“…when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”
– 2 Thess 1.7-9
God does judge. And He will judge. And it is a terrible thing to come to judgment day unprepared.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
– 2 Cor 5.10
“But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.”
– Rom 2.5-8
Finally, Jesus’ teaching of “judge not lest you be judged” is not intended to make the impact, “live and let live” (Matt 7.1-2). It is making the point that by the same measure we judge we will also be judged, because God does not allow hypocrisy. We are taught to hold one another accountable, to help keep our brother from stumbling into sin and to restore people who want to repent with gentleness, knowing our own tendencies to fail. Accountability is vitally important.
So which should we prefer, for someone to tell us in love (or even with ill motives) that our heart of unbelief and our sinful actions will lead us to an eternity of suffering – or for us to be left alone and to meet God when it is too late to change and suffer a fate of damnation? Do we truly want to let only God judge? Or do we want someone to step in and tell us about the hope of salvation and forgiveness in Jesus Christ?
God will judge. There is no doubt about that. But let’s humble ourselves to the Bible and to the accountability of people who care enough about us to warn us that the path we are traveling would be that unto destruction.