After I sent out my article about disaster prophecies, I got an email from Teresa in Illinois. I want to quote part of it here:
Were we not told judgment is already upon the earth? (Gospel of John) We just get to warn others of this and introduce the gospel and God’s intervention…I am wondering if we will not see a shift in preaching again…the warning of impending judgment and the good news of salvation for the sinner…
This is a fundamental issue: what do we think God is like? Do we see Him as a God whose moods swing back and forth between blessing and judgment? Perhaps we think He’s happy with America when we elect a president who holds strong family values, and He’s ticked with America if we elect someone who supports abortion or same-sex marriage. But contrast this with John 3:17-19:
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
The God whose moods swing to match our choices seems to fit the tone of the Old Testament revelation of God. There is something very fair about His movements in the Old Testament, and He is very clear about the issues that please and displease Him.
But with the Old Testament vision, it’s easy to get the idea that a time of safety and prosperity indicates that God is basically happy with the way things are unfolding on the earth. We might suppose that as long as our sins don’t become too outlandish, God’s mood will remain serene.
John gives us a contrasting vision. He says the whole world is already condemned, and this isn’t because God is mad at it. He isn’t mad at all; He’s broken-hearted, because He loves the world. Therefore He sent His Son, to provide a way of escape and salvation. All we have to do is turn from darkness and run into the open arms of the Son.
In other words, God’s judgment is to let us go our own way. Some of us choose the status quo or the path of least resistance, moving from sin to sin. “What’s the big deal? Everybody else is doing it,” we shrug. But some of us sense that the world is already condemned, and we run to Jesus to find a way of escape.
Luke 13:1-5 shows Jesus’ perspective about two tragedies that were recent news in His day:
There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
Jesus is the only way to escape judgment. He alone is light; either we run to Him or we are stuck in the darkness.
God isn’t ticked. He loves the world. But humanity isn’t what He designed us to be, and not even nature is the way He designed it. Will there be disasters in the earth? Of course; all He has to do is let us go our own way and we will bring them on ourselves. But it isn’t what He wants. He wants us to come to Him.