Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How Do They Get Away with It?

It is common to ask, why do the righteous suffer? But the psalmist in psalm 73 struggles with a different problem. Why do the unrighteous get away with it? If we look at the evil things done in the world. At vicious dictators who amass large amounts of money in Swiss bank accounts while their people starve. At criminals who commit brutal crimes against innocent victims. It is easy to ask, why does God not strike them down with a lightning bolt? Now the simple answer is that God is gracious and has allowed them time to repent (Romans 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; Luke 13:1-5). But underlying this is the idea that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23; Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 64:6) and are all in need of God's grace (Romans 3:24-31; Ephesians 2:8,9; Philippians 3:4-11). This is why Scripture forbids us to stand in judgment on ourselves and others (Luke 6:37; Romans 2:1; 1 Corinthians 4:3-5).  Now it does call for loving correction where that is warranted (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15-17; Jude 22,23). But we need to do this with the realization that we ourselves could not stand before God without His forgiveness. Now God will ultimately judge sin (Romans 2:16; Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Timothy 5:24,25). We may ask why God does not more quickly judge some people. I do not claim to know the answer. But we might also ask why He does not immediately judge us. The basic answer is that He is gracious.

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