Satan’s Strategy #5: God Doesn't Judge
Satan tempts us to think that God is so indulgent that we need not fear punishment for our sins. Few of Satan's lies are more widespread and more dangerous today,
"God is a God of love. He does not punish. He never judges. God expects people to sin and simply overlooks our sin, much as would a lenient and permissive grandfather. So don't get too alarmed about sin."
Not true. Here we see Satan resorting to a common ploy: He obscures a portion of the truth to create a falsehood. God is indeed a God of love, but He is also holy. God forgives sin, but He is also a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29). Although rich in mercy, God also cast the angels out of Heaven and expelled Adam from Paradise. God's patience is great, but He also destroyed the entire earth in a catastrophic flood. God displays compassion, but He also sent fire from Heaven to judge the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Nowhere is God's righteous anger against sin more clearly demonstrated than at Calvary. When the Lamb of God hung on the cross bearing the sins of all God's people, the thrice holy God poured out His divine punishment upon the Messiah. The Bible makes this clear: The God who gives grace is also the God who judges sin.
It is an error—and sometimes a fatal one—to misinterpret God's patience as God's indulgence. God mercifully withholds chastisement as He calls us to repentance. But Satan tempts us to regard withheld punishment as God's lack of concern for our sin. We are then emboldened to continue in sin. “Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?" (Rom. 2:4). The Holy Spirit displays God's goodness to us and directs us to repent; Satan tells us that God's goodness is evidence that He won't punish sin, and therefore we don't need to repent.
God does not indulgently ignore our sins. “Do not be deceived," the Bible says to we who are so easily deceived. “God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Gal. 6:7) There is a reaping that is inevitably linked to our sowing: If we sow in sinful actions, we will reap a harvest of sin's consequences (which include God's judgment). There are several good protections against temptation, but one of the best is a healthy fear of God's hand of punishment.
Brooks cautions that we should be most alarmed over our spiritual health when we can break God's laws and not sense God's holy displeasure with us. “When God lets the way to Hell be a smooth and pleasant way," warns Brooks, it is "a dreadful sign of God's indignation against a man; a token of His rejection, and that God doth not intend good unto him."
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Robert Spinney (PhD, Vanderbilt) is professor of History at Patrick Henry College, where he teaches American history and historiography. He is the author of City of Big Shoulders: A History of Chicago and World War II in Nashville: Transformation of the Homefront, as well as an American history textbook and numerous ministry-related booklets. Dr. Spinney formerly served as a pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Hartsville, TN, and at Winchester Baptist Church in Winchester, VA.