When is the last time you heard someone mention God’s judgment? Did you cringe a little?  Did the thought of God judging make you wince?  Was it because you did not want to talk about it, or because you don’t really believe God will soon judge the world?  We might used the words “saved” or “salvation,” but by themselves, aren’t they just empty words?  They just hang out there, meaningless, if they are not related to a need.  I am not saying we need to only focus on God’s judgment.  Some people make a caricature of those who preach hell, fire and brimstone.  The gospel message is a balance.   The reason God’s salvation is so great is because His judgement is so severe.

LAUGHING AT GOD’S JUDGMENT

As I was reading, I came across Genesis 19:14.

Genesis 19:14 (NASB95)

Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, “Up, get out of this place, for the Lord will destroy the city.” But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

I would encourage you to read the entire passage in Genesis 19.  There are three groups of people described in the passage and each react to the news of salvation and judgment differently.  The groups are: 1) Sons-In-Law, 2) Lot, or 3) God’s Messengers.

Notice the reaction of Lot’s sons-in-law.  Even though the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were vile cesspools of rebellion against God, the idea that God would destroy them seemed like a completely foreign idea.   When Lot shared the news that God was going to destroy the city, they thought Lot had to  be kidding.

WARNING LIKE A BELIEVER

We can all agree that the sons-in-law were on the wrong side of history.  A quick read through the rest the chapter reveals that their laughter was at the expense of their own lives (Gen. 19:30-31).

What about Lot?  Lot’s words were correct.  He might have even shared them with urgency; however, his hesitation revealed doubt.  Maybe Lot was doubting his ability to flee?  Maybe he doubted that time was really up?  When it came time to flee he hesitated.  Lot’s doubt revealed sin, because whatever is not from faith is sin (Rom. 14:23).  Even when judgment was eminent, God’s angels/messengers had to grab the hands of Lot, his wife and daughters to get them to move out of the way of God’s judgment (Gen. 19:15-17).

Only the angles’ actions show they truly believed God’s judgment was coming.  Not only did the angels believe their warning, but they showed compassion as they shared God’s salvation (Gen. 19:16).  They went out of their way to remove others from danger (Gen. 19:12).  They listened to their concerns and helped them where they could (Gen. 19:19-22).  The angels were attentive and showed empathy,  yet, they still warned of (and executed) God’s judgment.

TO WHAT EXTENT DID JESUS BELIEVE IN GOD’S JUDGMENT?

Did Jesus believe that God will judge sinners?  Jesus did not come to earth, live a perfect life and die on a cross to save us from a bad day.  Jesus’ salvation is necessary, because we were under the wrath of God (Eph. 2:3).  God’s wrath is soon to be realized in judgment (Matt. 10:15; 11:22; 11:24; John 16:8; Heb. 10:26-31).  Jesus believes this so much that He left His glory above to humble Himself as a man.  He lived a perfect life and suffered a cruel death on a sinners cross (Phil. 2:5-8).  Why? To save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).  There was, and is, no other way for people to avoid the judgment of God.  They must believe that Jesus is the only Way to salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

When we share the news of salvation with people, we cannot exclude judgment.  Salvation only makes sense, if they know what they are being saved from.  We are not being saved from a bad day.  When we speak of salvation, it is salvation from a bad, terrible, dark, tormented eternity.   Do we hesitate, like Lot, because we do not really believe in the warning we give?  Or, is our belief evident, as God’s messengers, because our actions of urgency match our words?

The angels told Lot to flee from that city.  We say the same thing.  Flee from the city of man. Judgment is coming.  Repent from your sins!  Turn and run to the city of God.  Flee to Jesus.  Jesus is the safe place from God’s judgment.  Believers know what it is like to be lost and what it is like to be saved; therefore, we should warn of God’s judgment with compassion and share news of God’s salvation with conviction.

Not everyone will welcome our warning and good news.  It is completely natural to laugh at the idea of God’s judgement. Lot’s sons-in-law laughed.  The Pharisees scoffed (Mark 2:16).  But for those who understand their need for a Savior, the news will be welcomed with joy (2 Cor. 2:15-16).  Salvation is precious when the need is dire (Luke 7:47).