Revival or Judgment: Is God About to Move Positively or Negatively?by John Burton on November 17, 2015
Flickr/Creative Commons)We as end-time Christians should be ardent supporters of God's judgment, of His act of love. (
Was it possible that God was more relaxed and carefree than I understood Him to be? Was His method of kingdom advance simply a revelation of how good He is?
I noticed quickly that those who were buying into this philosophy were living without a contending spirit. If the unction for prayer was there, it was mostly to enjoy God's presence (which I highly value, of course) but not to intercede with passion and fire. Desire for experience was there, but fervency in mission was lacking.
The second time I dealt with this fast-growing doctrine that exclusively promotes God's happy nature was in Detroit.
After a season of truly amazing encounters in the glory of God, I was stricken by the Lord with a severe, weighty message—that season needed to give way to a focus on the blood, the cross, brokenness and repentance. Those who were sold out to a culture of positivity found themselves outside of the "happy sauce" they so enjoyed as they were being called into the depths of God's heart.
Those depths include clearer revelations of God's mission, of His response to the infection of evil in the land, the cost of His Son's brutal slaughter on the cross, the horror of hell and the disease of apathy in the church. The reaction of many was to pull back and dream of the good old days as if God had somehow left the room. He never left. He actually intensified and the way He manifested changed. He was inviting us into the deep realities of the age. He was looking for a remnant army to carry this light but troubling burden.
While I always want to grow in understanding God's more positive characteristics, I can't allow myself to stop my learning at that point. I crave to understand God as He is—in fullness—whether it's positive, negative, encouraging or troubling. Further, I can't presume He will only move on the earth in a positive fashion. Honestly, you have to be quite lacking in biblical knowledge to presume that He would be restricted to functioning in that manner. God always has, and still does, move in both revival and judgment. They aren't competing ideas. They are intentionally intertwined. They go together.
We should be singing for joy regarding His judgment!
Let me make something clear right up front—judgment isn't the result of an evil God doing evil things. Judgment is a vehicle used by a loving God to positively impact those who will respond (though the impact will certainly be negative for the rebellious). Judgment is an act of deep love. It has to be, as God is love just as He is the Judge. He doesn't lay down love when He moves in judgment and He doesn't forsake justice when He pours out His love.
We as end-time Christians should be ardent supporters of God's judgment, of His act of love.
In America, we have a justice system. It's a good one. I can't imagine anybody reading this wanting to eliminate it in favor of anarchy. When someone murders, that person should be tried and judged—not because we hate that person but because we want them restored and because we love the others who are in harm's way if they were to go free. We agree with the judge's verdict of guilty and with the sentence of prison for the sake of both the murderer and the general public.
If we can trust our nation's justice system, even with all of its inadequacies, we certainly can trust the judgment of a perfect, loving God, right?
People need to know this! It's critical that we preach about Jesus as the Judge. We can't eliminate that from the gospel message!
I often pray that God will judge me. I actually crave it! I trust Him. He loves me, and I know that. He's not evil. He's not out to destroy me. I need His judgment in my life so any and every issue of my heart is dealt with. I can't let it fester. It needs to be addressed so I can repent and shift into a life of greater consecration. I know a life that's compromised by sin can do great damage to me and others. God's loving judgment in my life will resolve that.
The whole duty of man is to:
Do we understand how critical both fear of the Lord and obedience are?
If we don't obey, judgment will come to us. God will deal with our nation in similar fashion, and we should embrace that—because the judgment that comes after we leave the earth is permanent. Our fate is sealed.
This should result in the fear of the Lord returning in full force to the church!
The Bible tells us that judgment begins in the house of God. This is good, not bad—though the results can be quite terrible if repentance isn't the result. If we plan on continuing in sin, I can understand why we'd be anti-judgment. That makes sense. However, whether you are opposed to judgment or not makes no difference—it will come to you if you don't repent.
Those in the church are most definitely at great risk if repentance doesn't come. Hell is their future.
Are you starting to see why judgment now is so glorious? It's a part of God's divine plan of redemption. In fact, we as Christians are called to enact judgment in certain situations.
For example, if someone continues in sexual sin the church leadership is to turn them over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh! When is the last time you saw this happen in a church? Why is such harsh judgment necessary? The Bible tells us its so their spirits might be saved.
Additionally, we can't even eat with supposed Christians who are sexually immoral. That type of judgment is mandated. We have no option but to exercise it.
Again, the reason we do this is not because we hate people—but because we love them! Judgment now is restorative. The final judgment is not. Judgment now should be celebrated and welcomed as a way to avoid eternal judgment in the end.
Evil Must Be Addressed
When revival comes, that will be the first invitation to the world to surrender their lives fully to Jesus. Those who reject that call will be visited by more direct, negative, persuasive measures—judgment. Again, this is an act of love that will encourage the greatest number of people to respond to God as possible.
Completely different from judgment, however, is God's wrath. This is what we should be trembling about. When we understand the potential of God's wrath, and that those who are not in Christ are living under threat of the outpouring of His wrath every second of their lives, judgment will actually be cried out for! We need God's wise justice to deal with every situation on the planet so His wrath hits as few people as possible.
God is much more severe than we often realize! We must address the evil in the land, and trusting both revival and God's judgment are necessary. If judgment doesn't come, more people will go to hell, and evil will overtake the earth. It's as simple as that.
We can't fall in love with a God who manifests positively and reject Him when He manifests in judgment or wrath.
In fact, I believe the rejection of God's negative traits, of His judgment and wrath, is setting up millions for destruction. How many current Christians will reject God when they see Him destroying a fourth and then a third of the earth? How many cursed God when He brought the floods of death to the entire world, save eight?
How will you react when a holy and just God moves in severe and fearful ways? When God moves negatively, will you presume it's actually Satan doing it? Or, will fear of the Lord result? This is a critical question!
Will you commit the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit by attributing an act of God to Satan or will true fear of the Lord come upon you?
Where Does This Leave Us?
Christian friend, we should be sober, but we can be at peace!
If we are obedient and serving God in love, the Bible is clear—we are in a very good place!
There is no fear of eternal judgment if we are in the love of God.
However, please take note of the warning that follows in that passage:
Your theology doesn't save you. Your surrender to Jesus and obedience to Him does. We can attempt to rest on the encouragement in the passage shared above in 1 John 4 but actually be unsaved and unprotected from final judgment if we are haters and liars. If we say we love God but hate another, we can't presume to be exempt from judgment—temporal or eternal.
This is why we must live our lives consecrated and surrendered, fueled by the supernatural grace, the power of God. If we do, God is well able to keep us.
Jesus is coming soon as King and Judge. His Spirit is moving on the earth now. Judgment is here, and wrath is coming. Love will win, and our eternities hang in the balance. I encourage you to trust God's judgment in your life. Your eternity hangs in the balance.