God: Gracious Sovereign; Destroying Judge

Posted on March 25, 2021


By David Ettinger

Divergent Attributes
I have written several times about the multi-faceted nature of God.

For instance, we read in 1 John 4:8 that “God is love.” Yet, Nahum 1:2 tells us: “The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies.”

Many Christians struggle with such divergent attributes, yet the Bible is clear that just as God is love, He also destroys His enemies. This is evident a few verses down in Nahum 1:7-8:

[V. 7] The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,
[V. 8] but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh;
he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness

Many Christians love verse 7; not so much verse 8. Yet, there it is – a God-is-good verse followed by a fire-and-brimstone-God verse. For many, the two are irreconcilable.

Both Necessary
When Christians with softer dispositions recoil at such passages, they must understand that God is a holy God who despises evil and must judge that evil.

Habakkuk 1:13 tells us: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.” As such, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), meaning God will condemn to eternal damnation those who go to their graves having rejected Him.

Do you not believe God condemns people to Hell? Matthew 10:28 tells us: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One [God] who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

When sharing the Gospel, teaching both these truths – God is good, God is a destroying judge – are necessary. Of course to someone who is more tenderhearted, you would want to focus on God’s redeeming love, that He died to save we sinners from our sins (Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24).

But what if this tenderhearted person won’t accept it? Whether you like it or not, the truth of Matthew 10:28 must be shared. The same goes for John 3:36: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”

The bottom line is that only eternal punishment awaits those who reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, even the sweetest and kindest people on Earth.

And what of those with the hardest hearts? These can include evil and hate-filled individuals, but also those who have everything life has to offer. When sharing the Gospel with them, they would say, “I have everything I need, why do I need Jesus?”

Explaining to them that despite all their earthly riches they WILL die is a must. And when they die, they will be judged solely for either having accepted or rejected the lordship of Jesus Christ.

If they insist on rejecting Christ, they must know about the God of Matthew 10:28 and Nahum 1:2, 7-8. This is not a God to be trifled with. “He created you,” I would tell a rejecter, “and He requires your compliance to His requirements. Yes, He is a God of love, but should you reject Him, you will see Him only as the destroying judge.”

Not Pleasant
Delivering such a message is not pleasant, but must be done. Therefore, though many sensitive Christians may not like God’s portrayal in the Book of Nahum, it is nonetheless 1) who God IS and 2) the only God many people will take seriously.

Though this “destroying judge” may not be the God we wish to consider, let alone tell others about, it just may be the “precise” God they need to know about.