“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matt 5:10.
There is a war going on between the righteous and the unrighteous. Who are the righteous? Righteous are those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and have their lives forever changed by that belief and trust. Jesus, whether you presently believe it or not, did actually die for our sins. Jesus’ death on the cross was the only way for the loving part of God to be merged with the justice of God. You see, he loved us so much that he provided a way for us to be with him, in a sinless state, after we die. We are incapable of living sinless. We hurt others with our words, with our looks, with our actions, and with our inaction. We will continue to do that until we die. I wish it were not so. The difference between a righteous person and an unrighteous one, is that with our lives transformed by the sacrificial death of our Lord and Savior, and the acceptance of that by faith, we gradual sin less and less, hurting others less often, and helping others more often. The longer we walk with Christ, the more loving, less judgmental we should become. Anyone who claims to be a Christ-follower and is not moving in this direction, probably has not put their faith in Christ and turned their life over to him.
Many people are persecuted, we read about it all the time. However, Jesus says that those who are persecuted because of their righteousness will be given the right to enter the kingdom of heaven. As we have seen we can only be righteous if we are sinless. We cannot be sinless without someone, without sin, bearing the punishment (justice in action) for our sins.
I know we squirm when we think of justice from God, or punishment from God. After all, isn’t He a loving God? Can a loving God send people to hell, or even ban them from heaven?
Yes, and He is the only One who can.
Yes, and He is the One who can not keep from doing so.
Yes, He is a loving God.
But a loving God without being just, would be irreconcilable .
Let me explain. If you, like a friend of mine, came home to find your mother murdered and then her house burned down around her to hide the murder, would you demand the murderer be found and punished? I am pretty sure you would. My friend would agree with you. Most important of all, God would agree with you. In his Ten Commandments we find this, “You shall not murder” Exodus 20:10. And God says this, “‘Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die. They are to be put to death” Num 35:31.
In my last post, I spoke about a God who wanted to teach us how to live in harmony and peace, but there can be no peace, no harmony when someone intentionally murders a person. There is no forgiveness strong enough to make life seem normal or harmonious every again. We can forgive in hopes that our insides will eventually heal, but we can never heal if the murderer continues to live his/her life as though nothing happened. The demand for justice is a driving force. It is only when justice has been served, that our internal healing can begin.
If that is so with us, how much more so would it be true of God. He watches people succumb to evil every day, billions of people. Before you think of yourself as too good to have to worry about sin, let me assure you that in God’s eyes gossip is sin, lying is sin (even those little white lies), cheating o a test is a sin, convincing a friend to do something you know is not right is a sin, blaming others for something you did or said is a sin, and so much more.
The evil can range from purposely taking property from work home, a seemingly unnoticeable deed, to taking a life from a family. All are evil in God’s eyes, and all required a punishment.
God is just, and debts must be paid, but He is also love. How can he love and be just at the same time? He came down in earthly form lived the kind of life He has been trying to teach us how to live, and then taking all our sin, past, present, and future to the cross. AND HE DID THIS FOR EVERY HUMAN BEING WHO HAS EVER LIVED. That means YOU too.
Now, since God has given us free will to decide, for ourselves, how we want to live our lives, and how we want to spend eternity, God presents Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, and gives us the choice to accept Jesus and live (and become righteous), or to reject Jesus and accept an eternity separated from God.
Therefore, we are blessed if we are righteous, even though that means we will be persecuted, and we are cursed to an eternity without goodness, light, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, giving to help others, and every other quality that comes from a good, good God.
Outside of where God is there will be constant, unabated evil, addiction, darkness, hate, suspicion, misery, wars, fighting, anger, impatience, hurtfulness, agitation, taking from others, and so much more that can only exist without control when God leaves those who chose to live without God, with that choice for eternity.