Are You Allergic to God’s Judgment?

Many of us do have at least a mild allergy to God’s judgment, especially in preaching

“Declawing the Bible of its warnings against and judgments upon sin is not good for the church. In other words, being allergic to God’s judgment is unhealthy for both the preacher and the church.”

 

I have a lot of allergies. My allergies are enough for me to be reminded and for others to notice. I regularly get questions about whether I am sick or why I am not eating a certain thing. Being aware of our allergies means we avoid certain things. We do this because we know that they are bad for us; they have negative health consequences.

In the last several months I’ve been preaching through Genesis, and I’ve encountered God judging several times in the first 20 chapters. He casts the first family out of the garden of Eden (3), pronounces judgment on Cain (4), floods the earth (6), confuses languages at Babel (11), and then destroys Sodom and Gomorrah (19). As I’ve studied, considered, and preached Genesis I’ve picked up on this theme and a small island of resistance in my heart. “This is a lot of judgment” is a phrase I’ve thought to myself more than once. With each turn of the page and subsequent sermon, I’ve been reminded, “Yes, Erik, it is.”

This led me to ask myself—other Christians (preachers in particular)—do we have a mild allergy to God’s judgment? By this I mean, do we avoid the topic of God’s judgment?

I believe the answer to this question is “yes.” Many of us do have at least a mild allergy to God’s judgment, especially in preaching. There are many possible reasons why we do this (none of them seems valid). We fear man, over-emphasize grace to the exclusion of the imperatives, minimize sin, under-esteem grace, think less of God’s glory, and value pats on the back. Declawing the Bible of its warnings against and judgments upon sin is not good for the church. In other words, being allergic to God’s judgment is unhealthy for both the preacher and the church.

Here are a few reasons why:

Judgment teaches us who God is.

Just take the few examples that I sighted in Genesis. We learn about the goodness of God when he keeps his word and punishes sin (Gen. 3). We learn about his righteousness and grace when he judges the world but spares Noah (Gen. 6). We learn about the sovereignty of God when he confuses the languages in Babel (Gen. 11). We also learn about the immanence and holiness of God when judges Sodom and Gomorrah for their great sin against God (Gen. 19). Who is God? He is good, merciful, righteous, gracious, sovereign, immanent, and holy. The mural of God’s character are painted in the landscape of judgment. If we avoid preaching on judgment then we will be hiding God from our people.

Read More