Categories: Justice

Why does Jesus delay God’s justice?

Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

Abraham

Abraham trusted God to judge justly. In Genesis 18:22-33 of the English Standard Bible (ESV) it says:

Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

Prophets, Angels and Jesus

Too in the ESV Hebrews 1:11-2:9 reads, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say,

 ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’?

 Or again,

 ‘I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son’?

 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

 ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’

Of the angels he says,

 ‘He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.’

 But of the Son he says,

 ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.’

 And,

‘You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.’

And to which of the angels has he ever said,

 ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’?

Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Therefore, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

‘What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.’

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

Jesus during His ministry in Jerusalem also trusted himself to God who judges righteously as according to 1 Peter 2:22-23 of the ESV, it says, “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

God as a righteous sovereign Lord, has turned all authority of His kingdom over to Jesus, His scepter, who wept over the condition of the Jerusalem of His day because His people did not recognize His coming. With the Lord Jesus now in command of everyone, He has every right to judge all people according to the law. But the compassionate, just Lord Jesus surveys the earth through the ministers He has commissioned for His cause of reconciliation; seeking to save those lost in sin as stated in Psalm 45:6-7 in the New International Version (NIV):

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

Revelation 1:9 of the ESV has recorded the Apostle John saying to fellow believers, “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” Further, in 2 Peter 3:9 in the NIV it says, “The LORD is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Persecuted and Unpersecuted Christians Today

Just as Apostle John identified when on the island of Patmos, today, it is by Jesus’ patient endurance we see the postponement of God’s justice for those to whom it is due. As a believer in Christ, I live out patient endurance in biblical love by the Spirit in me that grants me patience as fruit by my entrusting myself to Jesus’ ultimate judgement. On account of God, all Christians are called to love as Jesus did without complaint or retaliation toward those who oppose our testimony which offers peace with God, freedom from wickedness and liberty from death. In holiness we live though in tribulation we may suffer. As Apostle Paul put it so eloquently in 2 Corinthians 4:8-12, NIV, concerning his sufferings for fellow believers unaccustomed to it:

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

Further, Jesus said in Matthew 5:11-12 of the ESV:

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Personally, I’d rather be blessed by God than cursed by God. How about you?