Revelation 16:4-7 (ESV)
4 The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say,
“Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was,
for you brought these judgments.
6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink.
It is what they deserve!”
7 And I heard the altar saying,
“Yes, Lord God the Almighty,
God is glorified in his judgments. This is a truth that many of us fail to recognize as we talk about the mercy of God alongside is just wrath. Of course, we all want to see people saved from sin and judgment. We pray for, plan for, and work toward the salvation of the nations. We want to see people rescued.
However, we do not want to be so confused about our Lord as to somehow think that he is not glorified as he judges those who have rebelled against him and who do not repent. God’s justice is good. God’s justice is perfect. God’s justice brings honor to his name.
You might consider how God is glorified by judging those who oppose him. In fact, you might come up with many reasons this is true. God’s justice demonstrates that he will not let sin go unpunished. God’s justice shows that every crime that is ever committed against any person on earth will receive perfect justice—either in the judgment of the one who committed the crime or in the substitutionary atonement provided by Jesus on the cross. God’s judgment glorifies him as it displays his utter hatred for that which is evil.
But the truth is, whether we naturally come up with the ways that the judgment of God honors him, and, truly, whether or not we naturally like these truths, we must first recognize that the Scripture teaches that God is praised in heaven for how he rightly judges those who oppose him. There needs to be a place in our theology to allow this truth to live. While we will do all that we can to try to protect people from the judgment of God by introducing them to the Savior, we cannot believe that rescue is the only thing that honors our Lord. God is God. God is perfect. He will be honored.