(Colossians 3:23-25 ESV) Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
In this blog we try to give people hope. We work to give the oppressed a voice and cry out for justice. Justice for them. Justice for their abusers. But where is that justice? Sometimes we see it. Many times we do not. We hear the stories of many of you and think, “what can we do? If only we had the authority, or unlimited resources we could….”
For the Christian, our ultimate and certain hope lies ahead. The Lord does work now in many ways to set captives free and to effect punishment on the wicked. But we still see evil scoffing at justice and the wicked apparently prospering. That is how it is in this present era. Things just don’t make sense so many times. Even the saints in heaven ask “how long, O Lord?”
All of these frustrations and questions will cease forever one day. That is what Paul told the Colossians, and what the Bible tells us many times: 1) God’s people will receive their reward, and 2) the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done. God will do all of this with perfect justice, showing no partiality. It will happen. It is going to happen. God has promised it, and it is impossible for Him to lie.
What does not make sense in this life will make perfect sense on that Day. All of our questions will be answered, and God will be shown to be all that He has said He is. Things often look hopeless here, but we can be assured that they are anything but hopeless for those in Christ. Our real life, in fact, has not really begun yet. Well, it has begun, but it is hidden. All that God has planned for us, we do not see yet. It is above, not below. And that is to say, it is not this present life that is our real life.
Did you ever see the movie with Jack Nicholson, As Good as it Gets? [Internet Archive link]1 It isn’t recommended for everyone, but the question Nicholson’s OCD enslaved character asks is pertinent — “What if this is as good as it gets?“ Christ has given us the answer. Not only is this life not as good as it gets, the life He has planned for us in the New Creation is so good, you wouldn’t believe it if He gave you peek at it right now.
In the meantime, we are called to live here in this fallen world with this great hope. And to fashion our lives in such a way that we show we are just aliens and strangers here, just passing through, camped out for a bit in tents. To live holy lives pleasing to God so that this world looks at us and says “you’re not from around here, are you?”
1[April 13, 2023: We added the link to Wikipedia’s page on the movie As Good as It Gets. [The Internet Archive link is a copy of that page. Editors.]
[April 13, 2023: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to April 13, 2023 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to April 13, 2023 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to April 13, 2023 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (April 13, 2023), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
10 thoughts on “The Certainty of Justice: Reward and Punishment”
Oh I LOVE this!!
I was just thinking about that movie the other day. That scene in the car, where Nicholson says about people with childhoods that include happy memories of picnics, noodle salad, etc. “Just….no one in this car”. 🙂
Something so hopeless, and yet realistic in that character. I really needed this today, Jeff, thanks! I prayed last night that God would please keep all His promises because in the end, it’s all I have to put my hope in. Some days the road is just so bleak.
Beautifully put….thank you for the reminder that so many times we need to hear….
I used to be a part of a mutual support group for survivors of domestic abuse. None of the other women in the group were Christians. I remember trying to explain to them how I could rest content in knowing that God would ultimately bring justice to my ex, and they just looked at me like I had two heads. Of course I explained, and they still didn’t understand. But it’s true. As Christians know that justice will eventually be done; and that is a great help in avoiding the temptation to harbour feelings of vengeance.
Thank you, I needed this encouragement today. When I overheard my parents in their morning prayer, praying for my abuser. I have told them what I think of that but they are set in their ways and don’t listen. I needed the reminder that seeking justice is not a sin and I will have it one day. Thank you soooooo much!
So sorry, Bethany! I know that frustration.
Yup without KNOWING God’s justice will be done I would of gave up long ago, I would of became what the MIW wanted (a body with no voice). I would of succumbed to a court system telling me this man who never had been a parent deserved to be alone with the children he so viciously abused. That my kids somehow deserved to not have the one person around that would protect them from his evilness. I also would of just forced down the churches jagged little pills of lies, I would of had to kill off who God made me, and resign to letting somebody else kill off who God made my children. If I did not believe God would not bring us justice, I would of just laid down and let the world tell me my life and my kids life meant nothing, I would of just did everything everybody told me to do, comply to all their stupidity, and smile while doing it.
I would of just let go of the the vision of my kids and I clinging to each other standing on top of a huge rock in the middle of the ocean, facing giant raging, violent storms heading directly for us from every side, but we remained untouched, all we could feel was a warm soft sunlit breeze. (I literally force myself to sit down and review this vision daily, Christ wrapping His robe at the very last second around us, so nothing touches us.) Kinda goofy huh?
The MIW heaps and heaps rewards, from every direction he appears to get everything he wants, so naturally he is RIGHT? I see that alot of time Christians assume that those people who are blessed with this fabulous life, riches and victory legally or whatever, people tend to correlate that with being a RIGHTEOUS person. Since we of course struggle from everything being stripped from us, it reinforces to the MIW and the people who listen to him that I, or my kids and I, have somehow done the wrong thing, or are “less” blessed therefore “less” godly. I can now totally see why the MIW does not, and will not EVER see he has done anything wrong, and how he cannot smell his own stench of death.
So ya, it’s so easy to forget the big picture, God’s justice will prevail.
Honestly though, I REALLY wanna see God’s justice RIGHT now!!! It’s hard, because I see his hand on things, but I still see the evil being rewarded, the worst case scenario I prayed NOT to happen for like ten years DID in fact happen, and I am just like “Now what?” What else will God allow this person to take from us? When will He finally put an end to this evil person? Things I just wrestle with about 24 hours a day.
I love that vision, Memphis. Not goofy at all. I am picturing it now and it is beautiful. Big hugs.
Memphis, I was blessed by these words:
Thank you. And I don’t think your vision is goofy, it’s marvelous. I think you are very sensible to re-view it every single day.
As to the notion that those who are living the good life now, are more righteous. Well, Jesus put paid to that didn’t He? Remember Luke 16 –– the rich man and Lazarus?
It is God’s justice that really kept me hanging on to God at a time of this journey when I felt like throwing it all away. If God isn’t real, and there is no justice, then we really have no hope. After all, why be passionate for good, why fight against abuse, why fight for a human’s right to be free — is [it] not because we have a sense of justice? And where would that come from, but God?
And if we desert the One who is the ultimate source of goodness and justice, then we are forsaking the help of the greatest Advocate we could ever have. But to know that the Just One Himself prioritizes justice and will do / has done everything possible to make justice prevail, we know we do not fight in vain. Probably doesn’t make sense to everyone, and I’m not sure how to articulate it, except to say that God is our greatest help in this struggle for freedom, because He loves justice more than we do.
Pastor Jeff wrote:
Giving people a voice is the beginning of hope….even when it feels like whistling in the dark.