The Compassionate Truth About Judgment

Scott Sauls | May 20, 2015

One of the greatest stumbling blocks to Christianity, especially among those who are drawn to the idea of a loving, compassionate God, is the Bible’s teaching on judgment.

Jesus, who was full of compassion and gave his life because God so loved the world, spoke more about judgment than most other subjects. He could not have been more clear that an excluding verdict awaits those who, in pride and self-sufficiency, exclude themselves by dismissing his generous offer of salvation by grace through faith (Matt. 5:22; John 3:16-18). Yet the same Jesus got upset with anyone who wished judgment on others (Luke 9:51-56). Though divine justice demands payment for sin, he desires that all would turn to him and find shelter from the wrath to come. He takes no pleasure in the death of anyone, including “the wicked” (Ez. 18:23).

Jesus, at whose cross “heaven’s peace and perfect justice kissed a guilty world in love,” perfectly balanced judgment with compassion.

Disorienting Truth

Well-intentioned but deeply misguided religious folk confuse Jesus’s teaching when they express enthusiasm about judgment, leaving others hesitant to discuss this subject in any context at all. When believers do unChristian things “in the name of Christ”—whether it be Jesus’s disciples seeking revenge on Samaritans, Peter cutting off the ear of one…

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