There are many elements of Christianity that appeal to almost all people. We tend to like the concept of love and mercy and kindness. Many like the idea of a happy afterlife. Most, I think, can happily go along with the idea of a deity who helps the oppressed, or at least a faithful people who do things to help those less fortunate than themselves.
And, of course, there are many things about the faith that are not so popular. High on that list is the concept of judgment. It is not popular today to speak of the concept of the justice of God, his wrath, the proper punishment for sin. It is not politically correct to allow the world to think that you might be judgmental, or even worse, that God might dare to judge people for their thoughts and actions. This, of course, is true except for the greatest of criminals or the worst of historical figures. We tend to be OK with saying that they face the judgment of God.
But, if we are going to be faithful to the word of God, we must also grasp that judgment is a major element of the revelation that God has given us. The Lord is righteous. The Lord is a judge. The Lord will judge.
Just look at these few verses from Psalm 9.
3 When my enemies turn back,
they stumble and perish before your presence.
4 For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.
5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever. …
7 But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
8 and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness. …
16 The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah
17 The wicked shall return to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God. …
19 Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before you!
20 Put them in fear, O Lord!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah
Recall that the Psalms are songs of worship.
These are proclamations of the truth and character of God. These are things that show us the Lord’s greatness. And there is simply no way around it, judgment is part of the greatness of God.
When we talk about the Lord, we cannot accurately speak of him without including the concept of righteous judgment. The Lord will perfectly and properly punish every single sin, every offense to his holiness. God cannot be good and simply overlook sin, pretending that it either did not happen or that it is no big deal.
The good news, of course, is that god provided a way that he could both perfectly judge every sin and still show mercy to his own. That is what Jesus came to do. Jesus is punished by the Father for the sins of all God will ever forgive. Thus, all who come to Christ are forgiven, not because God ignores their sin, but because God properly punished that sin on the cross. All who refuse the grace of Christ, however, choose to face the judgment of God for their sin on their own. And if we do not point these truths out, we do not fully express the truth of who God is.
Some people are overly fascinated by the concept of judgment. Some hate any hint of judgment. But a proper look at Scripture gives us a picture of a God who is right to judge and who has provided a means, one means, of grace.