Tag Archives: judgment

High-Def Sins – Hebrews 4:13-16

A few months ago while I was in Seoul, I noticed a peculiar form of censorship on the Korean TV programs. All cigarette smoking was blurred out. You could see a person move their hand up to their mouth. You could see the smoke when they exhaled. The only thing you could not see was a clear image of the actual cigarette held between their fingers. I would imagine that every Korean child over the age of 5 can tell you what the person on TV is doing despite the blurred image. I failed to see the benefit in altering the television programs in this way.

blurred_cigaretteIt did get me to thinking that how we try to hide our personal sins is probably akin to Korean TV censorship of cigarette smoking. We like to think that we are successfully hiding our sins. And, sometimes we are able to hide them—but only from other people.

And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:13).

God sees past our vain attempts to hide our sins. Our attempts at hiding them are far less effective than even the ridiculous pixelating of Korean TV. Our sins are not hidden or even slightly blurred. Rather we are left naked and exposed to the judge of the universe in all of our ultra-high definition wretchedness. In the book of Revelation, those who do not have their sins forgiven are described as calling on the mountains to fall on them and hide them from the all-knowing God.

Thankfully, for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, our sins are not merely blurred out, but removed as far as the east is from the west. The very next verses in Hebrews chapter 4 provide the comfort we so desperately need after reading verse 13.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).


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Global Warming Will Destroy the Earth! – 2 Peter 3:10-12

I have a hard time following the current trends in environmental forecasting. First we had forecasts of the coming of the next Ice Age, then it was global warming, and now we just have generic climate change. Unfortunately, the predictions from these men and women continue to be unreliable, whether they come from scientists with multiple PhDs or gypsies with stacks of Tarot cards. As my pastor noted in his sermon last Sunday, the Bible makes it clear that intense global warming will indeed cause the destruction of not only the earth, but also the atmosphere and the universe:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! (2 Peter 3:10-12).

This is not the gradual global warming caused by people, but a roaring fire of truly Biblical proportions. And since this prediction comes directly from the God who both created and controls the universe, it will undoubtedly come true. God is not telling us about an increase of a few degrees but a heat that will consume everything! So, when you hear or read about global climate change, let it be a reminder of the coming judgment of God upon this universe and us as individuals. It should drive us all to repentance and faith before it is too late.

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Make Your Friends a Footstool for Your Feet? – Hebrews 1:13

Everywhere I turn lately it seems I am confronted with the writings of another “Christian” who proclaims that everyone is going to heaven because Jesus loves everyone just the way they are. Apparently this must be the blond-haired, blue-eyed, non-judgmental surfer Jesus. It is clearly not the Jesus described in the Bible. For example, Hebrews chapter 1 borrows liberally from the Old Testament in its description of the real, Biblical Jesus:

“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? (Hebrews 1:13).

If Jesus loves everyone just the way they are, then he cannot really have enemies. Therefore, he must be making his friends a footstool for his feet. I really love my wife. I wonder if she would like to be a footstool for my feet? Yeah, probably not. This imagery of Jesus as the conquering king is incompatible with the surfer Jesus. Also, earlier in Hebrews, Jesus is said to hate wickedness:

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness (Hebrews 1:9).

It is because Jesus hates the wickedness of sin that he will judge. And we do not have to look very hard in this sinful world to see people who are clearly the enemies of Christ Jesus. Yet, so many people want to try to convince you that Jesus loves everyone unconditionally; even his most vocal enemies. There is no reasonable way to align the teachings of these “Christian” universalists with the clear teachings of the book of Hebrews or the rest of the Bible. They have crafted a false god whom they may call Jesus, but he is not the true Jesus of the Bible.

The demons know of the real Jesus and shudder! Why? Because they are his enemies and know his power and of the judgment to come. Read your Bible for yourself and learn about the real Jesus, before it is too late lest you die as one of his enemies.


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Jesus was not Christ-like! Huh?

Everyone likes to slap the Pharisee label on anyone who makes any sort of value judgment on anything these days. The Barna group recently conducted a survey trying to determine if Christians were more like Christ or more like the Pharisees. Respondents were asked to rate themselves according to how they agree with various statements. One of the supposed “Pharisee-like” statements was:

I like to point out those who do not have the right theology or doctrine.

Now, the “I like to” portion of this statement makes it a loaded question from the beginning. For example, I do not necessarily “like” to discipline my children, but it is both necessary and commanded by the Bible. But more importantly, Jesus could be considered a Pharisee (and therefore not Christ-like) by this metric. Since he “liked” to be obedient to the Father that means he, in one sense, “liked” to point out people’s theology and doctrine errors. Often he did this using very strong language. For example:

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? (Matthew 23:16-17).


That is a judgment of the Pharisees’ doctrine. Shame on Jesus! Or, how about this:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others (Matthew 23:23).

Would this judgmental Jesus be welcomed in our churches today? How about telling people to stop sinning? Yep, Jesus did that too:

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you” (John 5:14).

Jesus even pointed out when people had the incorrect view of God (i.e. bad theology):

“You are doing the works your father did.” [The Pharisees] said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father–even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. (John 8:41-42).

Tell people to stop sinning? Check! Tell people they have incorrect doctrine? Check! Tell people they worship a false god! Check! What a judgmental Pharisee that Jesus of the Bible was! I do not want to sit at his table at the next church potluck.

Now, of course, we can push the pendulum too far in both directions. We do need to address sin. We do need to correct false doctrine and bad theology. But, we also need to do that out of a desire that our hearers repent and come to saving faith in the real Jesus. It needs to ultimately come from a love for others. It is often a difficult, but necessary, balance to strike.

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The wicked surround the righteous – Habakkuk 1:2-4

O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?  Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted (Habakkuk 1:2-4).

The book of Habakkuk is a personal favorite although its message also terrifies me, just as it did the prophet Habakkuk:

I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us (Habakkuk 3:16).

I see the forces of evil growing in strength within our nation and world. I see them uniting against Christians and can only wonder if this is the coming judgment of the sovereign God. Certainly it would not be the first time God has used the wicked for his divine purposes. Ultimately, my inability to clearly see God’s purpose in allowing this growing wickedness leaves me wholly dependent upon the God of my salvation:

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

Like the prophet Habakkuk and the apostles under Jesus, there is nowhere else to turn even if we are uncomfortable with the message:

So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:67-69).

Sometimes, when our faith is weak, it can be hard to trust. But then, we remember that there is only one God and one Lord Jesus Christ. To whom else could we go?

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The heavens declare – Psalm 50:6

I love lightning. Driving in to work last week, I was treated to an awesome lightning display on the eastern horizon. The contrast of the soft, early morning light with the dark clouds and the lightning made for a spectacular view which reminded me, naturally, of Psalm 19:1:

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork (Psalm 19:1).

My little children currently do not share my love for lightning. Every thunder-clap brings them frantically scurrying inside in fear. The same lightning which makes me joyful causes them great fear.

The heavens above declare the glory of God. Amen! But, the Bible also tells us that the heavens should be a reminder to us that God is a righteous judge:

The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! (Psalm 50:6).

lightening2All of us will one day stand before that judge. Just as the same lightning causes two vastly different reactions between my children and me, there will be two reactions on the day of judgment. Those who are in Christ Jesus will rejoice in the great salvation provided by our glorious God. Those who are not will try to hide in fear and wish that the mountains could fall upon them and hide them from the face of God and his wrath (Revelation 6:16-17).

So, the next time you see lightning in the sky, I hope you think of the coming judgment of God. You do not know when or where it will strike in your life, but it is coming. Are you ready?

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Who are you fooling? – Luke 12:2

Last week I was out walking around my neighborhood with my little kids while they rode their bikes. At one clearing I could see to the next street where two police officers were walking a young man to their patrol car. The young man’s two arms were pulled awkwardly behind him with a shirt hanging between his two hands. Now, the shirt prevented me from seeing the handcuffs, but clearly he was being led away in handcuffs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow trying to cover up that fact you are being arrested by draping a shirt over your handcuffs would be as futile as trying to hide our sins from the Lord. Imagine that young man thinking, “Well, I am so glad the neighbors cannot see the handcuffs so they will not think I am being arrested. This t-shirt sure saved the day!  They probably will not even notice that these nice officers are stuffing  me into backseat of their patrol car with my hands behind my back.” Ridiculous, right.

Similarly, Jesus addressed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in Luke 2 trying to hide their sins from God. These Pharisees tried to make everything look good on the outside, but were inwardly full of sin. But, Jesus could easily see past the outward covering and warned:

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.  Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. (Luke 12:2-3).

Your secret sins and my secret sins may be hidden from the neighbors, but God sees them all. Even the ones that never escape our hearts and our minds.

Now, for those who are in Christ Jesus, that is actually good news. All of my sins are forgiven. None of them will be a surprise to God on the day of my judgment. All my sins were nailed to that cross and all my sins are forgiven:

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14).

So, the question is not whether or not God can see your sin. The question is, will you be judged on account of them? Or will you be forgiven despite them because you have repented and put your trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness?

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