Friday, May 29, 2009

Swift and Just

The nineteen-year-old college freshman had pushed back the court date once to accommodate her travel schedule. She hoped to ask the judge to reduce the amount on her speeding ticket and waive the mark against her license. The State Trooper who had caught her said that she had a good chance, if she didn't laugh at the judge's hair. After all, it was her first and only speeding ticket in twenty years of driving. On a first offense, he thought she might be inclined to waive the mark, assess a fine of $50 and schedule a date to watch one of the "gore" films on reckless driving.

So one month later, she found herself on I-65 South headed for the Sumner County courthouse, and mentally preparing her speech to the judge. But, when it came down to it, somehow all of her pre-planned, eloquently-worded remarks got lodged in her throat when the judge sharply queried, "Guilty or not guilty?" It was all she could do just to croak out, "Guilty." That was that, and the bailiff escorted her out of the courtroom, where she found herself handing $109 to the cashier. She drove the speed limit home.

HEB 9:27 - And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment..

A lot of misinformed people will think on that Day God will be tolerant with them; give them another chance after they say, "I'm sorry". But it will be too late then. God's judgment will be swift and just.

The very thing (God's love) that many will think will help them on Judgment Day, will be the very thing that condemns them to an eternity in Hell.

God has made His truly amazing grace readily available. To those who reject it, His final judgment will be severe.


Ike said...

How can a 19 year old have a 20 year good driving record?

Wayne Dawg said...

LOL - I didn't catch that!

I saw this little story and thought it made a great analogy about God's justice.....

Steve Martin said...

It is a good analogy.

We are all guilty and we all pay the price of our sin...death (the wages of sin is death)

But we will only die once. Many will undergoe the second death...the eternal one.

I'll pray that it will be as few as possible. beat me to the punch!

ExPatMatt said...

A just judge would have been lenient, given the kid's previous, clean driving record (since she was -1, no less; well spotted Ike!)

What kind of draconian judge hands out sentence without regard for mitigating circumstances?

What kind of sin could a person possibly commit that is worthy of an eternity of torture?

Go on, think of the worst sin you possibly can and tell me that justice is to torture that person until the end of time.

Now admit that a person who commits the least of sins (stealing some penny-candy, for example) but dies without repentance gets the exact same punishment as the first person.

You call your God just? You call Him righteous? Only the fear of what might happen to you if you don't toe the party line keeps you from admitting what you know to be true; Hell is not a just punishment for anyone.


Wayne Dawg said...

I knew as I was posting this one that you would be all over it Matt ;)

"What kind of sin could a person possibly commit that is worthy of an eternity of torture?"

Any sin.....We've been down this road and you know the answer.

"Go on, think of the worst sin you possibly can and tell me that justice is to torture that person until the end of time."

My ways are not His ways. My thoughts are not His thoughts.

God demands perfection Matt. The only way to avoid the penalty for your sins is to have a mediator between you and God.

"Now admit that a person who commits the least of sins (stealing some penny-candy, for example) but dies without repentance gets the exact same punishment as the first person."

This is just a straw man argument because no one commits 'petty' sins in the eyes of God.

If a man steals to save the life of his wife, he “steals.” He is therefore guilty of breaking both man’s law and God’s Law. However, any reasonable judge would take into account the motive for his transgression and be merciful.

Obviously, God will do the same on Judgment Day with those who have found themselves in such a predicament. God will do what is right.

However, if we dig a little into the motive of asking the question; (whether breaking the law is ever justifiable), we will likely find that you (Matt) are not in a life-or-death predicament; you are merely creating imaginary scenarios to try to justify your love of sin.

Hell is a just punishment of my sins and yours.

We ALL deserve Hell.

But God sooooooooooooo loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. Whosoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

ExPatMatt said...

And as I was writing my response, I knew you'd be waiting. ;)

"God demands perfection".


"This is just a straw man argument because no one commits 'petty' sins in the eyes of God.".

I don't think it's a straw man at all. Plenty of Jews must manage to keep the 10 Commandments (young Jews in pious families, for sure). And if one of these Jews fails to keep the Sabbath, or steals something, or looks at a woman with lust in his heart and then dies without repenting and accepting Jesus' sacrifice - that young Jew will suffer the same punishment as someone who flagrantly defied the 10 Commandments his whole life and didn't care.

"to justify your love of sin.".

Which sin do you think I love the most?

"We ALL deserve Hell.".

Nobody deserves Hell. Nobody.

"My ways are not His ways. My thoughts are not His thoughts. ".

I can't help but read that as a cop-out. I know it's Scripturally sound, but that's just how it comes across.

Have a great weekend!


Joseph A. said...

God demands perfection to be in his Presence. We don't have to be. But God himself being the absolute definition of all that is good, it would seem logical to think that His absence, as in our eternal separation from Him, would lead to something similar to what is usually tagged on to a definition of Hell.

Christ magnified the Commandments such that they included even the thoughts of man. No one can keep them. If someone has broken one, as James said, then they've broken them all. The Commandments are just a reflection of God's character, which no one will ever meet.

Hell was originally intended for Satan and his angels. In the future it will contain those who join Satan in rejecting God. If you reject God's provision for the forgiveness of your sins, then you will join he who rejected God from the beginning.

Of course God doesn't send anyone to Hell. You send yourself there. The Bible intimates that God has done everything He possibly can to keep you out of Hell and still leave you as a person with free will and not just a robot.

I'd keep going but my dinner is burning. Have a great weekend right back at ya!

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Steve Martin said...

Judges ajudicate the law (or are supposed to anyway) on the basis of the law. That is justice. Mercy and grace are another thing all together.

God is just (demands perfect adherence to the law).

God is merciful and gracious (paid the price for pur transgressions through His Son Jesus...for our saked...even though He did not have to)

ExPatMatt said...


"God demands perfection to be in his Presence...

Christ magnified the Commandments such that they included even the thoughts of man. No one can keep them...

Of course God doesn't send anyone to Hell. You send yourself there."

You honestly don't see the disconnect there?

Wayne Dawg said...

No disconnect at all Matt.

The Commandments are a mirror to show us that we fail the standard that God demands of us.

When we see ourselves in light of His standard, we should fall prostrate before the Holy One and cry out, "What must I do to be made right?"

It is then, when we are humbled before Him, that He gives us that amazing grace that has the power to save our souls.

ExPatMatt said...


God has a standard that he demands of all of us - failure to meet that standard results in damnation. By definition, nobody can meet the standard.

And yet you still want to pretend that 'free will' is even applicable here?

Analogy Time!

God dunks your head underwater.

Now, He knows that humans need oxygen to survive and that prolonged dunking will result in death, but He holds you under anyway because, well, because He can. You have 'free will' to make the choice; do I hold my breath until I pass out and drown, or do I reflexively gulp down water and drown? Oh, that's right, nothing I do can stop me from drowning because God is holding my head underwater! So you're going to drown either way. God is going to drown you.

But God is good and there's a handy SCUBA tank and breathing apparatus just within reach - as long as you acknowledge how wonderfully merciful it was for Him to provide you with this equipment (just forget about the fact that He was holding your head underwater to start with, ok?).

So now, you're treading water, with your breathing apparatus on, screaming at others to accept this wonderful 'gift'(with dozens of others giving us different advice as to how to get that sweet, sweet oxygen and avoid drowning).

Except the rest of us are bone dry, sat by the pool having a cold beer wondering who the strange person in the SCUBA gear is.

That's what it looks like to us.



Wayne Dawg said...

Let's back up for a second -

Maybe I need to be more clear.

When I say that God demands perfection, I mean that in the eternal sense.

In order for me to have an eternal life in Heaven with my Creator, I must be perfect to 'enter into the gates' if you will.

Only perfect sinless saints will enter into the Kingdom.

And therein lies the rub.

None of us are perfect sinless saints. How do I know that?

Because God gave us a mirror to look at; the Ten Commandments.

The Commandments show us how we have sinned against a holy God and now His wrath is upon us.

The Commandments show us that no matter how hard we try, we can never be 'good enough' to enter into the gate on our own.

We are sinfully dirty and the mirror shows us this plainly and clearly how dirty we are.

We need to be clean. Who can wash away our sins?

Your pool analogy fails because God is not holding us under anything; we are already dirty from our own choices to sin.

In fact, we all jumped in the pool and there is no way out.

We will all drown in the pool unless Someone on the outside throws us a lifeline.

God threw us the lifeline.

Tell God your sorry (repent) for jumping into the pool and, by faith (trust), grab the life line like your life depends on it....because it does.

ExPatMatt said...

When did I jump into the pool? I don't remember that.

I thought we were all born with a sinful nature and couldn't help but sin?

You say we make 'choices to sin' but really, if you're going to say that 'none of us are perfect sinless saints' then you have to assume that it is impossible to not sin.

So we don't 'jump' in the pool of our own free will, we inevitably fall (or are pushed) into the pool as a result of the curse that He put upon us. (I'm trying to follow your theology here)

Perhaps we're not 'dunked' and held under, as I said before, but real free will would have made it possible for us to avoid the pool altogether. Just because Adam and Eve flaunted the safety instructions and didn't put the pool cover back on when they'd finished their laps - why should the punishment for this be meted out on the rest of humanity?

Not only that but (and I know this is a recurring theme of mine!) some people get a very obvious life-jacket thrown to them from their evangelical, Bible-believing families and they stand a pretty good chance of being hauled to safety - but the majority of mankind is either grasping onto a false safety line or totally unaware that they're in the pool in the first place (with good reason).

All because God's demands are unreasonable. He could give us all very clear guidelines for living our lives and then judge people according to how they treated their fellow man. He could just forgive everyone.

Instead He goes through this whole false sacrifice farce and then makes it seem like it's our fault if we treat it rather dubiously.

No dice.

(could I have mixed my metaphors more in that comment?!)

Wayne Dawg said...

I still see us jumping in the pool (Choosing to sin) based on free will.

"He could just forgive everyone."

I suppose one could write volumes based on that statement.

Maybe it all comes downto this;

God wants you to turn to Him (repent) and totally rely on Him for everything (trust).

If God just kept forgiving you everytime you sinned against Him(apart from Christ) you could not be in love with Him.

If I, being a married man, kept cheating on my wife and then telling her I was sorry, how many times would she put up with it and divorce me? 20, 30 100, 10,000 times before she divorced me?

She would have a right to divorce a man who cheated on her hundreds of times; even if he kept telling her he was sorry. That man doesn't love his wife!

Why would God forgive those whose hearts are not comitted to Him?

ExPatMatt said...

You can choose not to cheat on your wife. You can't choose not to sin.

That's the key point that keeps sticking in my head; this concept that you can't help but sin and that God is going to punish you for it. It's like punishing someone with OCD because they keep re-organizing your house every time they come over. A decent person would accept that that's the way they are - or wouldn't invite them over in the first place if it's such a big deal.


Wayne Dawg said...

You don't choose to lie? steal? covet? blaspheme?

ExPatMatt said...

Sorry, I thought I'd replied to this yesterday!

You are selectively listing sins where choice is involved. Why not include getting angry or lusting?

Wayne Dawg said...

Getting angry is not a can have justified anger and not sin.

Lusting is a hidden sin. And yes, we choose to do that one.

ExPatMatt said...


(sorry, I meant hating - not just getting angry)

But still, really?

A beautiful woman walks past you and you have to make a conscious choice about whether or not to be physically attracted to her?

At some point, Wayne, you're going to have to decide;

Are all sins choices (in which case, someone could conceivably make only good choices throughout their life and not need Jesus)?

Or, are sins inescapable (in which case we're playing out a rigged game)?

Which is it?