Wednesday, June 01, 2016


How we view God is terribly significant. That we view God a certain way is the result of many things is a factual statement but, basically, all of our experiences of life, good and bad, lead us AWAY from a biblical view of God which I believe is the correct one.

But, unfortunately, we can even come away from scriptures with a twisted view of God if we allow human philosophies and human reason to give impetus as to how we interpret the meaning of the scriptures rather than just what the scriptures themselves say.

Take the idea of God being "Judge." [Hence, the post title made famous by comedian Flip Wilson.] God is the judge you know. The bible says so. In Psalm 9:8 the Psalmist says this.. "He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice." In Acts 17:31 it says He has appointed a day in which Jesus will judge the world in righteousness. Notice both verses speak of God being judge and connects it to His Righteousness and His desire for justice.

But when we say the word "judge" what do we usually mean? We generally mean someone who impartially views all evidence and pronounces us guilty so we can be punished or innocent so we can be set free. The key word here in our thinking is "impartially."

The reason we think this is because our Western Civilization is built on a view of law and order that is based on a legal standard that measures us and clinically [think scales] assesses our guilt or innocence to be adjudicated by that Judge who had better remain detached if he is to be fair. Our entire system of justice depends on that viewpoint of an impartial and objective judge with no stake in our case.

But the God of the bible, who is our Judge, is far from "detached" or "impartial." He doesn't think objectively with no stake in the case before Him. He's on our side and love is His character even His very nature and mercy is in His heart toward us.

It is true that you may not be fully cognizant of this as you read the Old Testament. But you will when you see the Old Testament as preparing for the New Testament and see Jesus as the full picture of who our God__ who judges__ really is. In scripture God as Judge brings justice and don't forget that biblical justice is not basically "punishment" but "SETTING THINGS RIGHT."

This is clearly seen in Isaiah 1:17 where it says... "Learn to do right! SEEK JUSTICE, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow". Notice the context of setting things as they OUGHT to be rather than the idea of punishment.

I'm not saying that punishment isn't part of the process, just that it isn't the MAJOR part as most modern Christians seem to think. Which, by the way, leads invariably to a concept that God the Father is cold, calculating, angry and, while detached from us, gleefully punishes us for our sin because He's our JUDGE. But that's our western mind at work, as I've said earlier, and NOT the declaration of the bible.

In scripture the justice that God desires is one that brings healing and restoration to broken relationships. It is His__ The God of the Old and New Testament__ seeking to relieve the pain and suffering our sin has created that is what the Cross is all about. So biblical justice is to be seen in the work of the Cross as much as biblical Love is. GOD is at work in Christ bringing justice and love together in a fashion that denies Him EVER being impartial or detached from those who have to suffer the consequences of our choices that started with Adam in the garden and continues to our own day and our own choices.

So we see that love and justice are not mutually exclusive. You don't find the God of the Old Testament as a Judge angry and wanting nothing to do with mankind and the God of the New Testament appeased. Justice and love are both the very nature of God demonstrated on the Cross. Jesus died BECAUSE He loves and desires justice. The Father planned BECAUSE He loves and desires justice. The Spirit gives life BECAUSE He loves and desire justice.

What this means is the Cross is the expression of the very heart of GOD in both justice AND love. So the Cross deals with our sin [Our missing the mark] and it's consequences which are death. [Separation in more ways than one.] Now in justice AND mercy the God who loves can lavish that love on us because the wrong has been righted to all who turn to that Cross. It is truly a work of GRACE from the heart of a GRACIOUS and LOVING God who is our judge AND Redeemer.

The Cross is to be seen as a RELATIONAL move on God's part as much as it is a judicial move. His heart for us is never removed from us even because of sin. He loves. He made a way for us to be back in a personal relationship with Him. He is just. [Makes things right.] He is God. We can trust Him and learn to love Him back all because of that Cross.

 "Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice".( Isaiah 30:18)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting Life."

WOW. When I read back what has just been written I recognize the implications to me personally. Not just in a personal redemptive way but as way of life. In other words, if I truly reflect and reveal the God of the bible I will do so in love AND justice. Racial, gender, class, social, along with every other kind of injustice, will have my full attention.

I will NOT be overcome with a desire to punish people for wrongs done, though wrongs do have consequences even legally, but I WILL be overcome with a driving desire to make right those wrongs.

On top of that, I will be more concerned with my relationship with people and loving them than I will be their correctness in understanding any system of belief. To those people I will present the One who even used the Cross personally to gain a relationship with them and I won't forget that. Ever.

Paul B.


Aussie John said...


I hesitate to comment sometimes because I seem to be a fan base of one.But, I will :)

I know, as I have seen on my blog (which is at a standstill and yet still being read), that many read but never comment. How I wish that readers would realize that comments can,be very helpful to encourage,to show the writer another aspect, or even to correct something in our fallible thinking.

Thank you for this great article. I assure you it will reach a wider audience.

"The Cross is to be seen as a RELATIONAL move on God's part as much as it is a judicial move. His heart for us is never removed from us even because of sin. He loves. He made a way for us to be back in a personal relationship with Him. He is just. [Makes things right.] He is God. We can trust Him and learn to love Him back all because of that Cross."


Victorious said...

Another post full of wisdom and one that reflects an understanding of how great, loving, merciful, and longsuffering a God we serve!

I'm convinced (unfortunately) that many Christians believe the "if it seems to good to be true, it probably is" theory when it comes to the depth of God's love for us. They see God as a kind of scorekeeper or judge and that keeps them in fear of earning an F on their holiness. I think God is grieved by this. After all, His Son died that we might have abundant life, peace, and joy. I'm learning to be like Paul in that I'm content in whatever state I'm in at the present knowing He cares for me.

Thanks for a great post, Paul!

Mary Ann

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J, Victorious,

Without a doubt, the two readers who's opinion I MOST value have commented on this post. THANKS!

Rex Ray said...


You’re so right in saying in saying,”…we view God a certain way is the result of many things”

One preacher said those “many things” create a ‘filter’ that influences our thinking and actions.

Reading the Bible from different translations will influence that ‘filter’. For instance, John 3:16 states “should not perish” while another states: “will not perish”. (NLT) Big, big difference.

You said, “You don’t find the God of the Old Testament as a Judge angry and wanting nothing to do with mankind…”

How do you explain why God destroyed mankind (except for a few) with the flood?

My wife loved your post.

Paul Burleson said...


In the Old Testament God often declared an annihilation form of judgment, it seems to me, to stamp out a cancer like condition that developed because of extreme sin. But don't forget that many of those judgments were preceded by warnings and/or long periods of exposure to the truth and time to repent. [Think Nineveh!] In fact, often times the "innocents" were given a way of escape with their families. [Think Rahab] It should also be remembered that expulsion from a land was the most common judgment, not extermination. This pattern goes all the way back to the ejection of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (cf. Gen. 3:24).

When it is all said and done, I would say a couple of things. I would say the end time judgment will supercede any in history and even that judgment has a way of escape. [Think the Gospel.] I would also say our ability to fully and properly understand God being perfect Grace/Love and perfect Holiness/Justice is beyond my capacity for understanding or answering. Hope this helps.

Rex Ray said...


Good answer.

I think the next time God ‘takes care of the world’, it will be done by fire, but His children will not be around to see it.

I like the old song, “Further along, we’ll know all about it”.

And like Mark Twain said, It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

Victorious said...

I've been thinking about this post and the "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" fear-filled type of life in the OT. But then I remembered a web site that listed the 324 Messianic prophecies along with their fulfillments here:

Right from Genesis through the entire OT, the trajectory was toward the long-awaited Messiah. From Moses to the Prophets, as Paul said, they were not as those who had no hope as God's mercy and love was evidenced through those hundreds of prophecies.

If anyone doesn't believe the authenticity of the Bible, refer them to that list and I don't know how they couldn't become a believer. :)

Paul Burleson said...


I visited the site. THAT is quite remarkable and a valuable tool added to my places to go for references when preparing studies. Again, REMARKABLE!