Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Isaiah 65 – God’s Judgment Is Righteous

The Lord God says:

“See, it is written before me: I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will indeed repay into their laps their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together... I will measure into their laps full payment for their actions.” ~Isaiah 65:6-7 (NRSV).

In context, Isaiah 56-66 focuses broadly on the concept of Sabbath. As the Prophet looks forward to visions of the New Heavens and New Earth, he speaks for God on matters of broad worldwide obedience—a fact that the populace will become in the final hour.

Before time however, many carnal people will remain that way despite judgment to the contrary, but the true servants of God will obey with veracity.

But we are all, of a sense, under God’s judgment. The Christian person, of all people, knows this. Those Christians ignoring this vital theological fact play only half a game with their God; they expect to be blessed without possibility of cursing. Yet there cannot be any blessing without the possibility of cursing.

Cursing, As Love

The God of the Old Testament—the self-same one as that of the New Testament—wants to love us with a very full love. This involves blessing for obedience, curses for disobedience.

This God of the Old Testament, as we read in the history of Israel, was known to judge the nation for their iniquities against their God. He used other nations—the unrighteous, unchosen nations—to go up against Israel. He used these nations to crush a disobedient Israel.

In the same way God loves us. Where we wander, this God will search us out, in the truth of life, as those consequences bear themselves over our lives.

We fool ourselves if we think we are obedient at all times. We cannot be.

Finalising Judgment Will Be Right

Cursing in this life is but a hint of what is to come. God’s judgment in this way can be seen as always right and always appropriate, despite the pain and the things we go without in the midst of such outcomes.

The truth is, judgment is never really about us; it instead reveals the glory of God—the fact of the Lord’s complete Dominion over all creation.

When the New Heavens and New Earth do appear—when that occasion has arisen, finally—we will see a movement over the earth, and acceptance of the Sabbath concept, which is really a willingness within humanity to obey God.

Until then, judgment. The righteous judgments of the Lord are a condition of the sinfulness of creation. Still again, the judgment of the Lord prevails, also, over obedience by way of blessing.

Judgment, for Love

All judgment is based in love. Because judgment is based inherently in love it is righteous.

The disciple of Christ seeks to understand this; it’s what they must do to make sense of life—to make sense of the times when life doesn’t make sense. It also makes sense of the idea that none of us is perfectly obedient when God’s will is to direct us to obedience. This is the purpose of judgment; motivated in love.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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